Sir George Alberti, national clinical director for emergency access

The emergency care czar remains a respected figure with considerable influence. His tenure as president of the Royal College of Physicians confirmed his significant clinical credibility, while his consistent courtesy also serves him well.

However, the Darzi reviews have somewhat stolen his thunder on reconfiguration issues, presenting more of a role for strategic health authorities to influence final decisions. Nevertheless, Sir George’s influence has still been felt during this year’s reconfiguration decisions. Losing an accident and emergency department is a hard thing to sell to a local community, no matter how poor its performance may be.