3. Dr Sarah Wollaston
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Politics and medicine are not great bedfellows, but Dr Wollaston has managed to find a formula that mixes the two disciplines to good effect.
As House of Commons Health Committee chair, she holds one of the most prominent heath policy roles in Parliament and has used this to scrutinise the Government’s NHS record.
GPs who nominated her said that she was ‘honest and realistic in the midst of madness’ and was ‘standing up to politicians’. But the public will remember her as the most prominent defector from the ‘Leave’ camp in the run-up to the EU referendum, saying the ‘cynical distortion’ of the promise to give the NHS £350m led to her change of heart.
This year, the GP, who formerly practised in Totnes, Devon, called the seven-day GP access drive a ‘dangerous obsession’ and loudly condemned the ‘downgrading’ of the Government’s child obesity plan.
Dr Wollaston tells Pulse that this coming year, she will be chairing inquiries on winter planning and suicide prevention, and looking at the consequences of Brexit. She says: ‘I will continue to campaign for recognition of the contribution of NHS and care staff from other EU states and for their long-term residency to be urgently guaranteed.’
It is good to see an independent-minded GP leading this work at Westminster, although she admits it occasionally feels more like fiction: ‘Politics has felt like Game of Thrones meets House of Cards of late,’ she says. ‘But there’s rarely a dull moment.’
Why influential: MP holding ministers to account on the NHS
Surprising fact: ‘Alastair Campbell said all MPs should see a psychiatrist. I married one’