Interim chief medical officer, DH UP 16
Sally Davies almost literally wrote the book on NHS research. As DH director general of research and development, she oversees government strategy on health and social care research and is also chief scientific adviser to the NHS and DH. She has recently seen her period as interim CMO extended, as government puzzles over the exact role of the position within the new health landscape. This seems to reduce her chances of getting the job, although only a fool would count her out. If she is appointed, she will have to demonstrate populist skills. An outbreak of swine flu, for example, needs an ability to communicate. Sir Liam Donaldson will be a tough act to follow.