Our weekly guide to healthcare's most influential people No 51

Published: 20/12/2001, Volume III, No.5786 Page 20 21

Name: Typical Persuader 2001

Job: Being so influential you make it to this column.

Being chief executive of something helps.

Style: Oh so modern, with members of the Blairbacked New Health Network popping up all over.

We have seen a lot of 'tenacious'and 'good listener', while 'down-to-earth' is clearly the new black.

Church, gym and rugby emerge as the most prevalent leisure activities of the NHScenti.Flyfishing, making chairs and organ-playing all featured.A worrying proportion appear to indulge in no recreational activity at all, while just one cited 'fantastic beer'.And a mild obsession with complementary medicine never did 6 per cent of persuaders any harm.Yet.

Background: Loads of this year's persuaders came to the NHS straight from the management training scheme, then joined every working party and taskforce in sight, while networking furiously.

Academics, patients' champs and the like skipped the traineeship, of course.The influence wielded by those who have worked in South Africa or Australia or trekked down the Amazon suggests that the Falklands' recruitment problems may soon be over.More than 12 per cent of the most persuasive have a gong for services to the NHS, mainly from the moderniser-stuffed new year's honours list.And It is new year again soon.

Future prospects: A mixed fate for this year's crop: most are still doing very nicely, thank you, and didn't want to run a strategic health authority anyway.A step up by early subjects Simon Stevens (from DoH adviser to Number 10) and David Panter (Hillingdon primary care trust to Brighton and Hove city council).But former Scottish first minister Henry McLeish has been less persuasive since a muddle over expenses ended in resignation.