The Clinical Leaders for 2014 are the 100 people chosen who, in practice and their day to day example, are making the greatest impact on health policy, service transformation, and innovation

1. Professor Sir Bruce Keogh

NHS medical director for England

No change at the head of our list of top clinical leaders. Just as in 2013, Sir Bruce occupies the number one slot.

Bruce Keogh

The influence of NHS England’s medical director continues to be strongly felt, whether through his recommendations on transforming urgent and emergency day in England, his advocacy of seven-day services, or the lasting impact of his mortality rates review.

A former cardiac surgeon who successfully persuaded his colleagues to publish their mortality rates, this is a man unafraid of controversy or difficult discussions. The first stage of his review of urgent and emergency care proposed a redesignation and reorganisation of current services, the impact of which will be felt widely.

Similarly, his commitment to ensuring that the quality of patient care does not decrease at weekends – he has recently described the introduction of seven-day services as his “number one priority” – will clearly necessitate change across the NHS.

His recommendations may be debated, but the fact that his driving force is concern for the patient and safety is beyond doubt. It is one of the many reasons that Sir Bruce is one of the most liked and respected senior leaders in the English NHS.

2. Professor Dame Sally Davies

Chief medical officer for England, Department of Health

England’s first female chief medical officer is known for her outspoken views, but our judges felt Dame Sally’s inclusion in our top 21, and so near the top, was only right.


Having used her last annual report to draw attention to the growing issue of antibiotic resistance – which she has described as “a catastrophic threat” equal to terrorism or climate change – she has this year turned her attention to mental health.

The characterisation of this area of healthcare as a “Cinderella service” is far from a new one, but Dame Sally’s call for more funding and greater emphasis on mental health and wellbeing is unlikely to be easily ignored.

Her report suggests waiting time targets should be introduced to encourage faster access to services, a recommendation which will undoubtedly cause debate. So too will her questioning of whether employed people with anxiety or depression should be fast-tracked for treatment so as to reduce the considerable impact of mental ill health on the economy.

Despite the best efforts of the Daily Mail, which had a field day over Dame Sally’s August 2013 admission that she tried cannabis at university, it is these important pronouncements for which she has gained most attention.

3. Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief inspector of hospitals, Care Quality Commission

It is now just over a year since Sir Mike was appointed to the role of chief inspector of hospitals. His renown as an oncologist is international and, in his previous role as cancer “tsar” at the Department of Health, he is widely acknowledged to have done more than anyone else to improve cancer treatment in the UK.


At the Care Quality Commission, he has presided over a major change in the way hospital inspections are conducted. Gone are small teams of two or three inspectors visiting a strictly limited number of specialties over a short period of time. The new regime, through which around 40 trusts have now passed, sees larger expert teams examining performance in a much more detailed way.

There seems little doubt that the method is generally more credible, and a full methodology for the inspections has been developed. The real challenge that Professor Sir Mike now faces is to make the labour-intensive process consistent and sustainable – for both inspectors and for the trusts being visited by them.

4. Professor Steve Field

Chief inspector of GPs, Care Quality Commission; and chair, National Inclusion Health Board

In last year’s clinical leaders supplement, HSJ spoke of “the rise and rise of this GP”. These proved to be prescient words, for just a couple of months later Professor Field would take another step up in his already impressive career: from deputy medical director at NHS England to the role of chief inspector of GPs.

Steve Field

In the post, he is responsible for inspecting the standard of care at more than 7,000 GP practices in England. While the hospital inspection regime being led by his CQC colleague Professor Sir Mike Richards is frequently described as new, the GP regime genuinely is: there has never before been a nationwide process to inspect the standards of care provided by family doctors.

Two blocks of CCGs have now been through the trial process, with the full inspection programme due to begin this month. Some in primary care have raised concerns about problems with recruiting sufficient numbers of qualified inspectors.

In addressing such worries, Professor Field will be speaking to his colleagues in a very literal sense: he remains a practising partner at the Bellevue Medical Centre in Birmingham.

5. Dr Maureen Baker

Chair, Royal College of General Practitioners

Dr Baker did not appear among our top clinical leaders at all last year, but her election last November as chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners was enough to guarantee her a placing in 2014.

Maureen Baker

That she is ranked as high as fifth reflects her willingness to speak out about some of the most important issues surrounding primary care provision. She has regularly expressed concerns about a “funding crisis in general practice”; one which she believes is leaving patients facing a postcode lottery.

Patient safety is a long standing interest, as is the use of informatics and information technology to improve care. She remains a strategic safety adviser at the Health and Social Care Information Centre, where she held the role of clinical director for patient safety until her election as Royal College of General Practitioners chair.

6. Dr Mark Porter

Chair, British Medical Association Council

Not a new entry to the list, but new to the top of it, Dr Mark Porter is the public voice of a profession that considers itself under appreciated and under attack. At this year’s British Medical Association annual conference, the respected consultant anaesthetist used his speech to launch a true fight. Questioning whether “we have a government that really gets the NHS”, he said politicians must “face up to the damage that they have done”.

Mark Porter

He and the association remain staunchly opposed to the reforms instituted by the Health and Social Care Act. Among their concerns: that the service has become more fragmented; that the tendering of services to non-NHS and public sector bodies has been prioritised; and that doctors are overworked and underpaid.

There has been a slight change of stance on seven-day services – the BMA now supports doctors being in hospitals at the weekend to treat emergencies and inpatients – but it is clear this is not a leader or an organisation that is planning to abandon its demands for medics’ worries to be heard. “With the general election just 10 months away,” said Dr Porter during his BMA conference speech, “we could be fighting like this every day.”

7. Jane Cummings

Chief nursing officer, NHS England

Ms Cummings’ top five position last year partly reflected the impact of her “6Cs” campaign, the values she espoused in an attempt to restore the morale and reputation of nursing post-Francis.

In July, it was announced that the principles – care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment – were being extended to all those working in the NHS in England, from hospital porter to chief executive.

Jane Cummings

The former emergency nurse retains her strong focus on creating and embedding a culture of compassion, speaking out recently about the importance of good end-of-life care and promoting the Liverpool Care Pathway replacement Priorities of Care. The December 2013 launch of the Nursing Technology Fund, meanwhile, was an important way to emphasise the crucial role nurses play in the use of technology in healthcare.

“Far from being afraid of new technology,” argued Ms Cummings, “we must learn to embrace and use it, particularly in frontline nursing and midwifery care where it can improve communication, help staff do their jobs better, more safely and efficiently and consequently create a better experience for patients.”

Staffing levels have been a continuing area of focus, and one in which Ms Cummings argues her team “have done more on in the past 18 months than has ever been done on a national level ever before”.

In July, Ms Cummings launched a new section of the NHS Choices website, which publishes nurse and midwife staffing data down to ward level.

8. Dr Hugo Mascie-Taylor

Medical director and executive director of patient and clinical engagement, Monitor

The special administrator at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, Dr Mascie-Taylor added another important role to his portfolio when he was appointed as Monitor’s medical director earlier this year.

Hugo Mascie-Taylor

The post is a new one, with Dr Mascie-Taylor responsible for offering clinical advice to the regulator’s board and executive. His counsel is likely to be sought on a number of issues, including potentially challenging ones such as reconfigurations, interventions and transactions.

He is perhaps uniquely qualified for such an undertaking, having spent a year overseeing the dissolution of Mid Staffordshire.

For now that is work he continues – his role at Monitor is a part-time one. But in a July letter to Professor Sir Mike Richards following a CQC inspection of the trust, Dr Mascie-Taylor warned that failure to secure changes to services before winter could be “potentially disastrous” for the local health economy.

Meanwhile this former medical director is seeking ways to support others taking on that role. Following research that showed a quarter of medical directors are new to the job, he revealed that Monitor would act on the findings, perhaps by introducing a version of the organisation’s board induction days.

9. Dr Sarah Wollaston

MP for Totnes and chair of House of Commons health select committee

Early indications are that Dr Wollaston plans to continue her predecessor’s policy of making the health select committee a force to be reckoned with.

Sarah Wollaston

Speaking after her election in June – which followed the unexpected resignation of her predecessor, former health secretary  Stephen Dorrell – she expressed her belief that “the role of the select committee is to ask those challenging questions on behalf of patients and taxpayers so this most cherished of our institutions in this country can continue to be there for all of our constituents when they need it the most”.

She will have to fill some big shoes: Mr Dorrell has been widely respected during his four years as chair. But our judges were impressed by the strength she has already demonstrated, not least her willingness to disobey the whips when she considers it necessary.

While the former GP made our Clinical Leaders list last year, this is her debut in the top ranks of it. If she continues her spirit of taking a stand, expect to see her here again next year.

10. Clare Marx

President, Royal College of Surgeons

Ms Marx made history in April when she was elected the first female president of the Royal College of Surgeons. Given that the college has existed for 214 years, our judges felt this achievement was worthy of recognition in and of itself.

Clare Marx

She is used to blazing this sort of trail, having previously been the first female president of the British Orthopaedic Society. It seems likely the issues she championed there will remain priorities in her new presidency: notably patient safety (on which she remains the college’s lead) and increasing the low percentage of women who become surgeons.

The latter is one of the many reasons she was named as one of HSJ’s Inspirational Women in the inaugural year of the project.

She has expressed the belief that change is most effective when led by healthcare professionals, and is clearly not averse to suggesting it herself.

Speaking recently on the BBC’s Today programme, she questioned whether it was time to abandon the idea of a “one-size-fits-all” 18-week waiting time for routine surgery.

11. Professor Terence Stephenson

Chair, the Academy of Royal Colleges

Representing 200,000 doctors and 20 royal college members is challenging enough, however Professor Stephenson will soon to be taking on another challenge. From January 2015 he will chair the General Medical Council – and that year of course will also bring with it a general election.


The former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health opposed the Health and Social Care Act of 2012, part of a campaign that led to the formation of the NHS Future Forum.

He will now have his hands full looking after medical education and training, espeically as patient safety continues to be a critical issue in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire scandal.

The consultant paediatrician, who specialises in neonatal medicine and paediatric emergencies, will have the tough task of ensuring that the Francis, Keogh, Berwick and Clwyd Hart recommendations are being implemented.

12. Peter Carter

Chief executive and general secretary, Royal College of Nursing

Although he has been a controversial figure, with some RCN members accusing him of not properly defending the nursing profession in the aftermath of the Mid Staffordshire scandal, there is no denying that Peter Carter still wields a great deal of  influence.

Peter Carter

As a head of an organisation that has 400,000 nurses, midwives, health visitors, nursing students, cadets and healthcare assistants as its members, Dr Carter has had a difficult job of ensuring that their voices and concerns are heard in Westminster. 

With the profession being criticised following the care failings at Mid Staffordshire hospital, he has tried to highlight the problems of staffing levels and continues to campaign for the implementation of the Francis report’s recommendations.

13. Professor David Haslam

Chair, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Professor Haslam’s rise to our top 21 indicates how his role and profile have grown in the past year.

David Haslam

As chair of NICE, he perfectly understands that the role comes with controversies: the organisation is no stranger to battles with the pharma industry, government and the media over its decisions.

However, this former GP remains unruffled – he has a lot on his plate, with NICE now looking after quality standards in social care as well. His remit is by no means limited to NICE though; Professor Haslam is also clinical adviser at the CQC and expert member of the National Quality Board, thereby overseeing some of the most important developments in the NHS currently.

14. Professor Keith Willett

Director for acute episodes of care, NHS England

As someone who says he prefers to “stay one step ahead of the medical political game” rather than indulging in “NHS watching”, Professor Keith Willett is just the man NHS needs at the moment. A leading light in trauma care, his work has been so influential that he was seconded full-time to NHS England as director for acute episodes of care from the University of Oxford.

Keith Willett

Nicknamed as “trauma tsar”, he co-founded the Oxford Trauma Service in 1993, resulting in the John Radcliffe unit acquiring the status of foremost referral centre for patients with complex and serious injuries.

Professor Willett was also responsible for introducing 24/7 services in Oxford more than 20 years ago, and he firmly believes that the seven-day services can be replicated across the NHS.

Particularly interested in research around fractures and falls, he led the NHS England’s Review of Urgent and Emergency Care alongside senior colleagues such as Professor Sir Bruce Keogh and Dame Barbara Hakin.

Professor Willett will play a crucial role in the coming year as he tries to implement the changes proposed in the review, working with stakeholders such as patient groups, hospital providers and CCGs.

15. Professor Tricia Hart

Chief executive, South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust

Words such as “approachable” and “friendly” are not usually used to describe the chief executives of NHS organisations. However, Professor Tricia Hart is one of the rare breed of leaders who remain firmly rooted to the ground.


Her mantra of keeping patients at the heart of service and delivering the best patient care possible is one of the reasons that she is widely respected by peers and staff alike.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, she has donned a number of hats, working as a nurse, midwife, health visitor and academic besides taking on senior management roles.

Her sphere of influence can be gauged by the fact she’s been involved in shaping up some of the most significant policy measures in the NHS in recent times, be it the Caldicott report or being one of the four assessors for the Francis inquiry.

Professor Hart worked alongside Sir Robert Francis in reporting the systematic failings at Mid Staffordshire hospital. And last year prime minister David Cameron appointed her to review NHS complaints procedures along with Labour MP Ann Clwyd. Some of the suggestions in the report have called for transparency, culture change, scrutiny of patient feedback and chief executives to be personally responsible for complaints procedures.

16. Sir Mark Walport

UK’s chief scientific adviser, Department of Health

Sir Mark is committed to bringing science and research to the forefront of policy making. With backgrounds in immunology and rheumatology, he believes science has a role to play in diplomacy because it helps Britain carve out a bigger role on the world stage.

He, of course, is no stranger to being diplomatic himself and is understood to be adept at navigating the choppy waters of Whitehall politics.

While he was the head of the Wellcome Trust for a decade (2003-13), Sir Mark was credited with shining a light on biomedical research and policy issues. Under his leadership, the Wellcome Trust allowed its scientists to publish their work in open access journals, so their research could be of wider benefit to people and society.

He is also credited with advancing studies on sequencing of the human genome so that insights from these can be used to help patients suffering from diabetes, cancer and rare diseases.

Recently he gave evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on the future research priorities for the UK. A supporter of international collaboration, it will be interesting to watch how he tackles the challenges around fostering innovation to support the UK’s growth prospects.

17. Dame Julie Moore

Chief executive, University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust

It’s a testament to Dame Julie’s influence that she has now featured as one of HSJ’s, Top Chief Executives and Clinical Leaders, as well as being one of our inaugural LGBT Role Models. So obvious was her inclusion as a clinical leader that our judges didn’t even discuss it.


A trailblazer in the truest sense, she is known for being outspoken and championing patient-centred initiatives. Dame Julie began her career as a nurse because she thought it was the nurses who made a real difference to the lives of patients.

She spent 10 years in clinical practice before moving on to the management side of things and working her way up. In 2006, she became the chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham, one of the biggest hospital trusts in the country.

An advocate of bigger trusts running hospital chains, she and her organisation were entrusted to provide support and mentorship to the troubled George Eliot Hospital Trust and Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust.

18. Professor Cathy Warwick

Chief executive, Royal College of Midwives

It is no exaggeration to say that Professor Cathy Warwick is one of the most well respected leaders in the NHS. In these difficult times, she continues to be a voice of reason and leads by example.


A supporter of women-centred care, she has been instrumental in encouraging midwives to provide choice to expectant mothers and reduce unnecessary interventions.

Professor Warwick qualified as a midwife in 1976 and went on to become head of midwifery and gynaecology nursing at King’s College Hospital in 1994.

Such was her contribution in running one of the largest home birth services in the country that in 2004 the Department of Health commended King’s maternity services for reducing the caesarean section rate and she was appointed an honorary professor.

Professor Warwick has been a regular on various advisory committees related to the workforce and also exerts tremendous influence in shaping midwifery strategy at a national level.

19. Dr Fiona Godlee

Editor, the BMJ

She may not be hosting television shows but Dr Fiona Godlee has to be one of the most influential “media doctors” in the country – being in charge of a journal read by more than 120,000 doctors in the UK and overseas every week.

Fiona Godlee

Having qualified as a doctor in 1985, she joined TheBMJin 1990, beginning a two-decade long illustrious career in the field of medical publishing and writing.

In 2005, Dr Godlee was appointed as editor-in-chief of the magazine, becoming the first female editor in the journal’s history.

She considers The BMJ to be a “campaigning journal”, combining elements of science and journalism. Some of her key works include being at the forefront of the AllTrials campaign and writing on topics such as ethics of academic publication, problems with editorial peer review and impact of environmental degradation on health.

She also led the development of BMJ Clinical Evidence, a database of knowledge and treatments grounded in evidence-based medicine.

20. Professor Eileen Sills

Chief nurse and director of infection control and prevention, Guy’s and Thomas’s Hospital

Known for her strong leadership skills, Professor Sills’ work around staff engagement at Guy’s and St Thomas’s is more relevant than ever, as nursing faces unrelenting scrutiny in the aftermath of the Mid Staffordshire scandal.


Her emphasis on creating a culture where staff feel confident to raise problems and misgivings has been praised by nurses and others alike.

Being the chief nurse of such a large and complex trust isn’t easy, but according to our judges, she is adept at “taking everyone along”.

Recently, she has been appointed as the chair of chief nurses of the Shelford Group, an elite group of 10 leading NHS multi-specialty academic healthcare organisations.

Professor Sills also takes the clinical lead for dementia at Guy’s and holds visiting professorships at King’s College London and South Bank University. She is a member of the NHS Employers policy board and a trustee of the Burdett Trust.

Clearly, she continues to be a prominent spokesperson for her profession. Or as a member of judging panel put it, “she is still the go-to person if Number 10 wants an opinion on nursing policy”.

21. Dr Ben Goldacre

Wellcome research fellow in epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; writer on science and medicine

Best-selling author, data geek, researcher, psychiatrist and academic – Dr Ben Goldacre is a man of many talents, whose work has successfully exposed how the media, politicians, and the pharmaceutical industry distort scientific facts and research to suit their agenda.

Ben Goldacre

His widely popular books, newspaper columns, TED talks and blog posts and tweets have managed to make the niche subject of science writing become mainstream as he becomes the “rock star” science writer – taking on the baddies and their pseudoscience with acerbic wit and scathing prose.

 The self-described “nerd evangelist” started his column “Bad Science” in The Guardian in 2003 which debunked dodgy scientific claims. In 2008, this turned into a book, which became one of the top 10 bestsellers on Amazon.

His second book, Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients was released in 2012 has been the scourge of the pharmaceutical industry – uncovering how the $600bn behemoth misuses evidence by withholding negative trial data from doctors and/or patients.

Top Clinical Leaders listed alphabetically

Cheryll Adams

Founding director, Institute of Health Visiting

Ms Adams only established the Institute of Health Visiting in November 2012, but it is already seen as an influential organisation. Its founder has impressed with her strong leadership of a rapidly growing and developing profession.

Gail Adams

Head of nursing, Unison

Ms Adams, a nurse by background, continues to be a determined promoter and protector of her profession. She has expressed concerns that little progress has been made on safe staffing levels despite the Francis and Keogh reviews, arguing that “the spectre of another Mid Staffs still looms large over the NHS”.

Dr Charles Alessi

Chair, National Association of Primary Care and senior adviser, NHS Clinical Commissioners


Dr Alessi continues to be a key leader in primary care. Having played an important part in the introduction of clinically led commissioning, it seems his role now will be to support its evolution. He has come out strongly in favour of co-commissioning, for instance.

Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli

Founder and chief executive, Patients Know Best

While others talk about the importance of giving patients access to their medical records, Dr Al-Ubaydli gets on and does it. Patients Know Best is now used in 40 hospitals in the UK, and by patients and clinicians in seven other countries.

Professor Dame Sue Bailey

Former president, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Professor Bailey came to the end of her term as president of the RCPsych in June, but she remains an important clinical leader. As the new chair of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, expect her to maintain her promotion of better care for young people suffering mental ill health.

Professor Sir John Bell

Regius chair of medicine, University of Oxford

The former president of the Academy of Medical Sciences is said to be far more influential than most people realise. During his career he has been key to the development of research programmes in genetics and genomics. And thanks to his position as one of two UK life sciences champions, he has the attention of senior leaders – including the prime minister.

Professor Viv Bennett

Director of nursing, Public Health England and Department of Health

One of our judges, Professor Bennett did not take part in discussions about her inclusion in the list. She continues to promote the idea that all nurses need to think about public health as part of their practice.

Professor Don Berwick

Author of report into NHS patient safety

Don Berwick

With his post-Mid Staffordshire review of patient safety now published, Professor Berwick’s disappearance from the top echelons of our list (last year he was ranked third) was perhaps predictable. But his thinking as outlined in last year’s supplement remains important – even as the former paediatrician and founder of the influential Institute for Healthcare Improvement dedicates himself to a run for governor of Massachusetts.

Dr Mike Bewick

Deputy medical director, NHS England

Dubbed England’s most senior GP, Dr Bewick is responsible for leading the transformation of primary care. The publication of Improving general practice – a call to actionclearly detailed the case for change. Now the effort begins to make the vision a reality.

Professor Nick Black

Professor of health services research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and chair, National Clinical Audit and Enquiries Advisory Group, NHS England

This former public health doctor has chaired the National Clinical Audit and Enquiries Advisory Group since 2008. The unrelenting post-Francis focus on assessing and improving quality lends it increasing importance.

Professor Richard Bohmer

International visiting fellow, The King’s Fund

A doctor who practised in his native New Zealand and then in England, Professor Bohmer now teaches healthcare management at Harvard Business School in addition to his position at The King’s Fund. Through this work, he is a clinical leader who is supporting many others to become the same.

Professor Alistair Burns

National clinical director for dementia for England, Department of Health

Professor Burns is the man responsible for meeting David Cameron’s dementia challenge: namely to deliver major improvements in dementia care and research by 2015. The immediate target is to ensure that two-thirds of the estimated number of people with dementia have a diagnosis and post-diagnostic support, a goal which Professor Burns believes will be attained by next year.

Professor Iain Cameron

Chair, Medical Schools Council

Dean of the faculty of medicine at the University of Southampton, Professor Cameron became the chair of the Medical Schools Council last September. The council represents all medical schools in the UK, making its chair an important leader in medical education.

Sir Iain Chalmers

Health services researcher, one of the founders of the Cochrane Collaboration and coordinator of the James Lind Initiative

The distinguished health services researcher is perhaps the most eminent of his kind. As founder of The Cochrane Collaborative, Sir Iain could be argued to have done more than anyone else for the pursuit of evidence-based medical practice.

Teresa Chinn

Registered nurse and founder of WeNurses

She is a new entry among our top clinical leaders but Ms Chinn can already call herself an HSJ/Nursing Times Social Media Pioneer, Rising Star and inspirational woman. The wealth of accolades recognise her achievement in using social media to bring nurses together in discussion and learning.

Professor Peter Clark

Consultant oncologist, Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology

Professor Clark’s expertise in his field of practice is recognised both locally and nationally. He chairs the Royal College of Physicians medical oncology committee, the NHS England clinical reference group for chemotherapy, and the National Cancer Drug Fund. But Professor Clark’s influence extends beyond oncology, not least through the 10 years that he spent as a member of the NICE technology appraisal committee.

Professor Matthew Cooke

Deputy medical director (strategy and transformation), Heart of England Foundation Trust and professor of clinical systems design at University of Warwick

A second year on the list for former urgent care “tsar” Professor Cooke. That reflects his impressive influence on the development of emergency care, whether within his own region or at the national level.

Dr Paul Cosford

Director for health protection and medical director, Public Health England

In common with many of his public health colleagues, Dr Cosford is something of an unsung hero. The recent ebola outbreak has put him and his department centre stage, and there is a sense that he has acquitted himself well.

Ian Cumming

Chief executive, Health Education England

The first chief executive of Health Education England, Mr Cumming is seen as having had a very significant impact in his role, particularly when it comes to the training of nurses. HEE’s Shape of Caring Review is currently underway, for instance, and will make recommendations on the reform of nurse and care assistant education.

Professor Lord Ara Darzi

Chair, Imperial College Health Partners and director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London

A fall from the upper reaches of our clinical leaders list for Lord Darzi (last year he was ranked sixth), but a continuing presence: a good way to describe his current position in healthcare. He may not be as central to policy as he was in the days of Gordon Brown’s government, but no one would deny that his voice is still an important and influential one.

Professor Jane Dacre

President, Royal College of Physicians and director, UCL Medical School

Previously recognised as one of HSJ’s Inspirational Women, Professor Dacre’s influence increased this year when she was elected president of the Royal College of Physicians. She continues to practise, holding a consultant rheumatologist post at Whittington Health Trust.

Dr Jennifer Dixon

Chief executive, The Health Foundation

Dr Dixon appears among our clinical leaders for the second year in a row, but this time in a different role. After five years as chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, she became the head of The Health Foundation last October. The respect afforded to the views of this former paediatrician remains unchanged, however.

Dr Amanda Doyle

Co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners leadership group and chief clinical officer, Blackpool CCG

One of the two GPs chairing NHS Clinical Commissioners (the other is her fellow HSJClinical Leader Steve Kell), Dr Doyle is an important voice as the new commissioning system beds down. When Monitor announced an investigation of whether Blackpool CCG had breached competition rules, she also became a somewhat controversial one. She has openly questioned whether the regulations are complicating and impeding commissioning decisions.

Dr Mike Durkin

Director of patient safety, NHS England

Just over 12 months since the publication of the Berwick report, Dr Durkin is publicising the progress he says has been made – including increased levels of incident reporting, fewer pressure ulcers, and more patients recorded as “harm free” – while also gearing up for the launch of Patient Safety Collaboratives. This programme is set to launch this autumn and is promised to be the largest of its kind in the world.

Professor Aneez Esmail

Professor of general practice, University of Manchester

Professor Esmail is seen as central to the revived debate over equality in the NHS. His research focuses on the idea that the medical profession still unnecessarily and unfairly considers race when taking decisions on career progression, complaints and rewards. Many bodies have reconsidered their policies as a result of the professor’s work.

Baroness Audrey Emerton

Cross bench peer, House of Lords

Baroness Emerton continues to be the only nurse currently in the House of Lords. She also continues to make sure it is not only the medic’s voice considered when health legislation passes through the upper chamber. With a general election approaching, and a possible change in government, the legislative work to be done on health is only set to increase – and, with it, Baroness Emerton’s importance.

Dr Sam Everington

Chair, Tower Hamlets CCG

When HSJwas seeking a GP to sit on our inquiry into the future of NHS leadership, Dr Everington was the top choice. A pioneer of the sort of integrated approach to health and social care which organisations across the country are now committed to introducing, he is widely recognised as delivering excellent care to the deprived local community he serves. When this qualified barrister talks, people listen.

Professor Sir David Fish

Managing director, UCLPartners 

Professor Sir David has been at the head of UCLPartners since its June 2009 establishment, leading 40 higher education and NHS organisations. It reports real impact on local patients’ lives – training over 13,000 staff to improve care for people with dementia, for example – and is highly rated for its research.

Dr Paul Flynn

Chair of the consultants’ committee, British Medical Association

Negotiations on a new consultant contract continue, with Dr Flynn admitting they are particularly difficult. “Unlike previous contract talks,” he told the BMA conference this summer, “there is no new money to invest… in return for the changes in working practices that the government wants.” The most significant of those changes is the introduction of seven-day services, an issue on which the BMA has somewhat mellowed its stance.

Dr Clare Gerada

Clinical chair for primary care transformation in London, NHS England

She may have come to the end of her term as chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, but no one expected the outspoken Dr Gerada to sink into the shadows – and she hasn’t. Her role in London is an important one.

Professor Sir Muir Gray

Director, Better Value Healthcare

Professor Sir Muir has been a public health doctor since 1972. Yet he retains a great deal of influence, helping to ensure clinicians consider population health and wellbeing as well as the patient directly in front of them. As director of Better Value Healthcare, he is seeking to publish handbooks and development programmes to get more value from healthcare resources.

Dame Barbara Hakin

Chief operating officer, NHS England

Barbara Hakin

After a year-long investigation, the General Medical Council cleared Dame Barbara of acting in a “bullying” and unprofessional manager. But it is not like that would be enough to make her job easy: having been responsible for commissioning development at NHS England, she has now been through what she admits is was “the most difficult year [NHS England] has faced in balancing its financial plans”.

Dr Phil Hammond

GP, journalist, broadcaster, vice president of the Patients Association 

Private Eye’s managing director and health correspondent was ironically one of the two journalists at the satirical magazine to question the conduct of the woman who precedes him alphabetically in our list. It is just one example of Dr Hammond’s unique role at the heart of British healthcare: simultaneous healthcare commentator and practitioner, a position cemented this year by his appointment as vice president of the Patients Association.

Professor Sue Hill

Chief scientific officer, NHS England 

Health scientists often feel that their considerable contribution to the health service receives insufficient attention. They usually have a point. Professor Hill is still working tirelessly to increase the profile and appreciation of her colleagues, this year sponsoring a joint project with the NHS Confederation to explore how the benefits of health sciences to the NHS can be fully realised.

Dr Paul Hodgkin

Founder and chair, Patient Opinion

After 25 years as a GP, Dr Hodgkin established the well regarded Patient Opinion in 2005. The site enables patients to share their experiences of healthcare, good or bad, and provides a new way for healthcare staff to garner feedback. Its pioneering founder has been called on to advise the government and NHS England on their choice and open data programmes.

Dr Kim Holt

Founder, Patients First campaign

The paediatrician who blew the whistle on the Baby P scandal, Dr Holt founded Patients First in 2011 to help others in raising concerns about the quality of care. With Sir Robert Francis now conducting a review into whistleblowing in the NHS, expect Dr Holt’s views to be highly sought after, and highly valued.

Professor Richard Horton

Editor-in-chief, The Lancet


Editor-in-chief of the world’s leading medical journal since 1995, Professor Horton’s voice is one with impact. His authority is international, not least through his co-chairmanship of the World Health Organization’s independent expert review group on women’s and children’s health.

Dr Ruth Hussey

Chief medical officer, NHS Wales

As Wales’s chief medical officer, it is Dr Hussey’s job to lead public health policy and the medical profession in the country. The country has arguably been hit harder than the rest of the UK by austerity measures, but Dr Hussey is felt to be performing well in her role.

Celia Ingham Clark

National director for reducing premature deaths, NHS England 

Ms Ingham Clark has led important workstreams at NHS England before – first as national clinical director for enhanced recovery and acute surgery, then as medical director for revalidation and quality. But her latest appointment, as part of Sir Bruce Keogh’s team, is probably her most significant yet.

Professor the Lord Ajay Kakkar

Chair, UCLPartners  

A consultant surgeon at University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust, Professor the Lord Kakkar became chair of UCLPartners in April. It remains the largest academic health science centre in the world, and a renowned one.

Professor Jonathan Kay

Clinical informatics director, NHS England

Heading NHS informatics is a poisoned chalice if ever there was one but this practising consultant chemical pathologist is widely thought to be doing well. To hear him speak is to recognise that he truly believes informatics can and is making a difference in healthcare.

Dr Steve Kell

Co-chair, NHS Clinical Commissioners and chair, Bassetlaw CCG

In the first 18 months of the new commissioning system, Dr Kell has established himself as arguably the most recognised leader of his CCG colleagues – and the go-to commentator for members of the media.

Peter Lees

Founding director, Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management

A second HSJ Clinical Leaders appearance for the founder of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management. This membership organisation has filled a clear gap – how many times has it been argued medics need to become more involved in healthcare leadership? – and has quickly connected to a range of leading figures.

Dr Geraint Lewis

Chief data officer, NHS England 

The furore over cannot have been a particularly pleasant time for Dr Lewis. But no matter when it is ultimately rolled out, and in what form, Dr Lewis’s role in ensuring the NHS makes use of its data will remain crucial.

Professor Sir Robert Lechler

Executive director, King’s Health Partners 

Plans for a formal merger between Guy’s and St Thomas’, South London and Maudsley and King’s College Hospital Foundation trusts may have been put on the backburner, but the position of King’s Health Partners and Sir Robert as its executive director is undiminished.

Dr Arvind Madan

Chief executive, The Hurley Group

Dr Madan is responsible for strategy and business development at The Hurley Group, which runs GP practices and walk-in centres across London. As Dr Clare Gerada is his fellow partner at the group, he will also have the ear of the clinician leading primary care transformation in London.

Dr Clifford Mann

President, College of Emergency Medicine  

The pressures on his speciality are such that Dr Mann has become increasingly high profile. He has recently rung the alarm bell on “exit blocking” – when A&E staff recommend a patient should be admitted, but there are delays in allocating a bed – and warned that proposals to reform the urgent and emergency care payment system would be a “disaster” for A&E departments.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot

Professor of epidemiology and public health, University College London

Professor Sir Michael has spent his working life exploring the social determinants of health, regularly demonstrating the shorter longevity of those on lower incomes and in poorer areas. His appearance on Desert Island Discs this summer underscores the regard in which he is held, and enabled him to provide a simple explanation of his work. “What I contribute to the policy debate is that I bring evidence,” he told Kirsty Young. “I don’t do the skulduggery of politics.” A valuable trait indeed.

Dr Johnny Marshall

Policy director, NHS Confederation

In post for a year and a half now, Dr Marshall persists with efforts to extend the NHS Confederation’s partnership work in health and social care. He continues to practise as a GP, and one who is closely involved in clinical commissioning: he helped set up NHS Clinical Commissioners, for which he is now a senior adviser.

Ruth May

Chief nurse, NHS Midlands and East

Ms May was a key contributor to the national nursing strategy Compassion in Practice, leading on staffing levels and skill mix. Now she is a vocal supporter of Stop the Pressure. The idea for the campaign came from a Twitter exchange between Ms May and a student nurse, and has become a truly national movement.

Dr Margaret McCartney

GP and health writer 

Dr McCartney is a Glasgow-based GP but, thanks to her writing and broadcasting work, is known across the UK. She asks difficult questions, but they are often acknowledged to be the right ones. This year, the Royal College of GPs approved her proposal to establish a working group considering the issues of overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

Professor Judy McKimm

Director of strategic educational development, Swansea University College of Medicine 

Professor McKimm is a nurse by background but has now spent around 30 years in education. At Swansea University, she runs a masters course in leadership for the health professions. The course is an important contribution to the idea that leadership by clinicians is not synonymous with leadership by medics.

Dr Kathy McLean

Medical director, NHS Trust Development Authority

After a year as clinical transitions director at what was then the NHS Commissioning Board, Dr McLean joined the NTDA in late 2012. She continues to carve out the medical leadership agenda at the body supporting and regulating non-foundation trusts.

Dr Martin McShane

Director for long term conditions, NHS England  

With around 15 million people in the UK suffering from a long term condition (and counting), Dr McShane’s job is a challenging one. At the start of the year, he warned that LTCs were at risk of overwhelming the NHS. He has proposed the establishment of complex care GP practices, which would only see patients with complex needs.

Dr Ramesh Mehta

President of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin

You may not agree with the judicial review this consultant paediatrician brought against the Royal College of General Practitioners and the General Medical Council, alleging racial discrimination in their exams. And it was ultimately unsuccessful. But his actions have increased attention on the significant issue of differential attainment in medical education – and the need to do something about it.

Professor Karen Middleton

Chief executive, Chartered Society of Physiotherapists

During seven years as chief health professions officer, Professor Middleton had the task of leading more than 80,000 allied health professionals (AHPs) working across 14 different professions. Far from simple, but Professor Middleton established a strong record of clinical leadership. Arguably her biggest achievement was enabling certain AHPs to independently prescribe. She took up her role at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists in February, and few would bet against her displaying similarly effective leadership here.

Dame Gill Morgan

Chair, Foundation Trust Network and Alzheimer’s Society

A member of HSJ’s Future of NHS Leadership inquiry, Dame Gill has an impressive CV: from public health doctor to senior healthcare management to permanent secretary at the Welsh government assembly. She retired from the last of those roles in 2012, but her two most recent appointments ensure her expertise remains relevant and valued in healthcare.

Sir Stephen Moss

Non-executive director, Derby Hospitals Foundation Trust

Few would envy the job Sir Stephen held from 2009 to 2012: chair of Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust. It was he who led the organisation through the Francis report and its aftermath, slowly rebuilding confidence in the organisation. The lessons he learned during this period continue to invite interest from across the health service. Since February 2013, the former nurse has held a non-executive post at Derby Hospitals Foundation Trust.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul

Chair, GP committee, British Medical Association 

Chaand Nagpaul

A new entry on our clinical leaders list, but Dr Nagpaul’s July 2013 election as the chair of the BMA’s GP committee saw him take slot 25 in last year’s HSJ100. He has successfully negotiated new GP contracts across all four UK nations, with no change in contracted hours or out-of-hours working. But he told the BMA conference that these changes “don’t address the fundamental issue of chronic underfunding and unsustainable pressures on UK general practice”.

Dr Yvette Oade

Chief medical officer, The Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust

Dr Oade has gained a strong reputation for successfully leading service change and care integration. She did it during her time as chief medical officer and deputy chief executive at Hull and East Yorkshire Trust and is considered to be repeating the trick in her relatively new role at Leeds.

Professor David Oliver

President-elect, British Geriatrics Society

David Oliver

Professor Oliver is the high profile president-elect of the professional organisation for those caring for older people. The consultant geriatrician advocates impressively for equality of access to services – including as a commissioner on HSJ’s Commission on Hospital Care for Frail Older People. Demographic changes surely mean the role of the organisation he leads can only grow.

Sir John Oldham

Chair, Independent Commission on Whole Person Care

In March, Sir John published One Person, One Team, One System, a report which represents the outcome of his year-long review into whole person care. Given that he was commissioned by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, it could equally be described as the likely foundation of Labour’s health policy at the next election.

Dr Kiran Patel

Chair, South Asian Health Foundation

If we had an “up and coming” subcategory within our clinical leaders, Dr Patel would be there. A consultant cardiologist, he heads the South Asian Health Foundation which promotes research relating to this community. In this role, he is said to galvanise researchers.

Dr Matthew Patrick

Chief executive, South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust  

Dr Patrick is part of a very rare breed: the clinician who is chief executive. He took up the top job at SLAM in October 2013, and has impressed locally by bringing his clinical expertise and skills to his management role. But his influence is wider – he has contributed to a range of national mental health policies, including the development of the improving access to psychological therapies programme.

Dr David Pencheon

Director, NHS Sustainable Development Unit 

Dr Pencheon is a key figure promoting the need for, and awareness of, greater sustainability within the NHS in England, reducing the service’s carbon and environmental footprint. Our judges applauded Dr Pencheon’s continuing efforts in this area, especially his practical approach to engaging both the public and NHS employees.

Dr Mark Porter

Media doctor

The very term “media doctor” may be met with suspicion in medical circles but Dr Porter’s rational and informed writing, analysis and broadcasting for The Times, the BBC’s One Show and Radio Four continues to be respected. As our judges put it: “For a doctor in the media he is sensible and evidence-based; we take him seriously.”

Dr Dan Poulter

Parliamentary under secretary of state, DH  

Dr Poulter’s inclusion led to intense debate – was the rarity of having a practising clinician in a ministerial role reason enough to make him an HSJ Clinical Leader, especially in an administration pushing through controversial health reforms? Our judges concluded: “Whether we like what he’s doing or not, he has influence.”


Professor Wendy Reid

Director of education and quality, Health Education England

Formerly medical director at Health Education England, Professor Reid was appointed director of education and quality in March. Her work around emergency medicine workforce planning has been influential and our judges felt that, in her new post, she will continue to have an important leadership role.


Professor Anthony Rudd

National clinical director for stroke, NHS England

As London’s first clinical director for stroke, Professor Rudd brought “common sense” to stroke services in the capital, our judges argued, and his move last year to a national role therefore bodes well.

Professor Sir John Savill

Chief executive, the Medical Research Council 

The MRC, as one of the major funders of NHS research, plays a pivotal and increasingly influential role in the health service – especially as trusts are under more pressure to be “research active”.

As its head (and reappointed in March until 2016), Professor Savill therefore once again merited a place as a top clinical leader, judges felt.

Professor Laura Serrant-Green

Professor of community and public health nursing, School of Health and Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton 

Professor Serrant-Green was one of HSJ’s Inspirational Women earlier this year. Her inclusion as a Top Clinical Leader recognises both her influence in higher education and her pioneering clinical work, notably within the African Caribbean community and especially in the area of male prostate cancer.

Professor Janice Sigsworth

Director of nursing, Imperial College London

Professor Sigsworth joined Imperial’s Academic Health Services Centre back in 2008 from the Department of Health, where she had been England’s deputy chief nurse. As one of the service’s most senior nurse leaders, she is, our judges argued, “highly respected but known for having her feet on the ground”.

Dr Geraldine Strathdee

National clinical director, mental health, NHS England

A consultant psychiatrist at Oxleas Foundation Trust and visiting professor at UCLPartners, Dr Strathdee has been a senior and influential figure within mental health policy for more than 20 years. With mental health provision becoming an increasingly high-profile issue, her inclusion as an HSJ Clinical Leader was unquestioned.

Professor David Taylor

Director of pharmacy and pathology, South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust

It’s hard to know where to start in terms of gauging Professor Taylor’s influence – his day job; editor-in-chief of Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology; his work with King’s Health Partners; lead author of the Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines; professor of psychopharmacology at King’s College, London. Our judges, certainly, praised his constant focus on improving patient experience and on engaging and collaborating with others.

Jacqueline Thompson

Nurse consultant, older people, NHS Tayside


One of our judges called Ms Thompson “one of the most impressive nurses I’ve met”, in particular citing her work around cardiothoracic surgery, nurse led prescribing and acute medicine.

Primarily nominated for work as advanced nurse practitioner at Central Manchester University Hospitals Trust, Ms Thompson moved north in August, becoming one of just three nurse consultants for older people in Scotland.

Professor Sir John Tooke


President, Academy of Medical Sciences

Professor Tooke has been president of the Academy since November 2011. He is also vice provost (health) and head of the medical school at UCL. Our judges praised him for being not just a “distinguished clinical investigator” but also for having done a “very good” job as president.

Professor Patrick Vallance

President pharmaceuticals R&D, GSK 

Professor Vallance’s leadership has “revolutionised the way GSK organises itself in R&D” our judges agreed.

Indeed, he is arguably “the great white hope of one of our remaining pharmaceutical companies in the UK”, they felt.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely


President, Royal College of Psychiatrists  

There was some debate as to whether Professor Sir Simon should be included within our list, given that he only took office in June and therefore has had limited time to make his mark. Nevertheless, his distinguished clinical track record, and the fact he is now in such an influential position, meant the consensus was yes.

Professor Norman Williams

Chair, Health Education England commission on safety and past president, Royal College of Surgeons

Professor Sir Norman was appointed by HEE in August, building on the government’s Sign up to Safety campaign.

However, his inclusion in this year’s list was primarily as “one of the greatest presidents of the Royal College of Surgeons in living memory”, our judges argued, in particular his achievement in “corralling” surgeons into putting their results into the public domain.