21. Dr Margaret McCartney
Voice of integrity
Dr McCartney continues to be the conscience of general practice. Her work on Radio 4’ s Inside Health and her columns in the BMJ debunk myths and call out non-evidenced-based claims. She continues to be a thorn in the side of pharmaceutical companies.
This year, she outlined the potential safety problems with Babylon’s GP at Hand in a letter to Dr Sarah Wollaston, the GP chair of the House of Commons health committee – who duly raised the issue with former health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Dr McCartney said that the app missed symptoms and involved a high rate of false positives – while pointing out that it was outside the remit of many regulators. She was instrumental in the RCGP’s decision to drop Babylon as a sponsor of its annual conference.
She also continues to challenge the political obsession with private healthcare screening, highlighting the lack of evidence behind many campaigns promoting screening, and their potential harms.
But more than anything, she is hugely respected by fellow GPs. She has little time for baubles – such as recognition on these lists – but that doesn’t stop colleagues nominating her. ‘Good at spreading the word about evidence-based medicine… comes across as very articulate,’ was how one GP put it. Another was more succinct: ‘One word – INTEGRITY.’
Why influential: the voice of reason
Random fact: has reached level 34 on Pokémon Go