President, Royal College of Surgeons. NEW ENTRY
President of the college since 2008, John Black is not afraid to speak his mind. He has been a persistent opponent of the European working time directive, arguing it reduces continuity of care, raises safety issues and impacts on training by reducing the hours trainee doctors spend with patients.
The coalition government has listened and promised to push for revisions to the EWTD. Meanwhile the DH has stopped measuring compliance with the directive, something Mr Black says other European countries have done all along, enabling them to bypass the legislation.
Mr Black has also been critical of the coalition’s plans to hand commissioning powers to GP consortia, arguing that they do not have the skills for commissioning many specialist services. He is a powerful voice for hospital doctors, and is also likely to throw a spanner in the works when the DH pushes ahead with plans to reform consultants’ distinction awards.