If, in five or 10 years’ time, a patient is able to get detailed information about the numbers of operations every surgical team carries out, their outcome and how that compares with other specialists, before deciding whether they want a surgeon to cut into them Sir Bruce Keogh will be the man to thank.

The NHS medical director has driven forward the opening up of data about individual surgeons since the mid-1990s, originally typing up reports on cardiac surgeons during his annual leave. Now he presumably has a secretary but his passion for putting information into the public domain remains. It has not always been a passion shared by his fellow doctors but he has given them a strong message about the opportunities the emphasis on quality offers for clinicians, urging them to “stop whinging” and seize control of the NHS.

He has pushed forward the quality issue, publishing overall death rates for trusts and also working closely with strategic health authorities on quality measures to be used locally. Next year will see trusts publishing quality accounts.

He is also a distinguished surgeon in his own right. He was professor of cardiac surgery at University College London and director of surgery at the Heart Hospital.