It’s not surprising that this year’s reshaped HSJ100 feels a little different as it reflects the upheaval of the last few months, says David Hancock

Welcome to this year’s HSJ100 which InterSystems is proud to sponsor for the second year.

At the start of the year not many predicted we would see a worldwide pandemic, with the NHS forced to switch to emergency mode to ensure it could cope with the influx of seriously ill patients with a disease little was known about. Anyone involved in the NHS worked flat out to ensure it had the infrastructure and goods it needed to do so.

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It’s a tribute to everyone around the NHS that it coped relatively well and is now working equally hard to restart other services. It will take many more weeks and likely months to feel “business as usual” again, but the NHS continues to work hard to get there.

It’s not surprising, then, that this year’s reshaped HSJ100 feels a little different and reflects some of the upheaval of the last few months. A number of the scientists involved in understanding the disease, finding cures and developing vaccines are in our top 80 – something which would not have happened in other years. But who can doubt the impact an effective vaccine will have on the NHS and our lives more generally? Or that the Recovery trial – which looks at a range of treatments for covid – has already influenced clinical practice and will continue to do so?

The newly introduced “wildcard category” is also throwing up some interesting people whom the NHS needs to watch and listen to. These include people from within the health sector whose views or experiences make us look at things in a different way, such as disabled GP Hannah Barham-Brown.

But there are also people from outside health who can help us look at the “bigger picture.” Baroness Onora O’Neill, for example, is a philosopher who thinks about the purpose and design of regulatory systems. She may not have had the NHS in mind when she wrote about them, but her words will resonate with many within it. And no one could fail to learn from George Orwell, even if it is on the importance of clear communication!

Judging of the HSJ100 this year was done remotely – a new experience for many of us but one which did not inhibit a frank discussion! I hope you will enjoy reading the outcomes of our deliberations as much as I enjoyed taking part in them.

Also read:

The ‘new’ HSJ100 reveals a more diverse leadership cohort

HSJ80 full list: The most influential people in health

HSJ100: The wild cards

HSJ100: Exclusions

HSJ100: Judges 

The ‘new’ HSJ100 reveals a more diverse leadership cohort