National clinical director for cancer, Department of Health ▼30

As high as number five in previous HSJ50 lists, Professor Richards’ ranking this year can either be seen as evidence of the waning power of the medical tsars, or proof of his success.

The 2010 cancer death rate targets might have been missed but NHS cancer treatment has been redrawn through reforms such as the NHS cancer plan and the cancer reform strategy, all achieved since Professor Richards’ appointment.

Professor Richards is now reviewing that reform strategy so that it sits with the government’s white paper proposals. It may or may not be significant that the second question in Professor Richards’ “Dear colleague” letter outlining his review asks where money can be saved.