Mark Britnell, director general for commissioning and system management, Department of Health

World class commissioning has become the most ubiquitous phrase in the health service. That is down to Mark Britnell, who has made sure the vision he set out a year ago is starting to be translated into reality.

His commissioning catchphrase, “adding life to years and years to life”, has been taken up like a rallying cry, including by shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, who recently commandeered it - unattributed - for one of his speeches.

Indeed, Mr Britnell is reputed to be one of the few key officials at the DH who might survive a change of government.

Since moving to Richmond House, the man who became chief executive of University Hospital Birmingham foundation trust at the age of 34 has strengthened his reputation for getting things done.

He has not only got most primary care trusts dancing to his tune but has made all the national clinical directors effectively reapply for their jobs, taken over the department’s commercial strategy and generally aligned a whole raft of policy.

With his confident knack for self-publicity and high profile, he is not a natural DH official, but he has taken his strengths and used them from within to his advantage.

It was no surprise that Lord Darzi’s review contained all the proposals for which Mr Britnell had lobbied hardest.