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At the heart of general practice since 1960

The list that paints a portrait of a profession in flux

When Pulse asked a panel made up of the leading lights of general practice to nominate names for our fourth annual Top 50 list of GPs with influence, their responses threw up some surprises.

When Pulse asked a panel made up of the leading lights of general practice to nominate names for our fourth annual Top 50 list of GPs with influence, their responses threw up some surprises.

When we sat down to look at the list of names suggested, some were very familiar – but the number of new names thrown into the ring this year was unexpected.

Far from being a run-down of the grey-haired elders of the profession – although there remain a number of respected veterans – the list shows a younger more vibrant group of GPs than ever before. Nearly half of the names in the list are new entrants this year.

In many ways, the list is a portrait of a profession in flux, with many of the names that dominated the profession for years – notably Dr Julian Tudor-Hart and Dr David Colin-Thomé – dropping out to be replaced by new faces. It is refreshing to see GP trainees, such as Dr Krishna Kasaraneni and Dr Stuart Sutton, representing the future of the profession in such distinctive ways, and giving them a powerful voice at the top table.

Perhaps inevitably though, it's the well-known name of Dr Clare Gerada who tops our list. She has had a defining year in terms of representing the values of the profession and voicing the concerns of GPs against the Government's NHS reforms, so the RCGP chair's place at the top of the list is well deserved. Other notable campaigners against the health bill, now the act, have also made their names this year, while others are included in the list for the opposite reason.

NAPC chair Dr Charles Alessi has risen through the rankings, largely for providing a rational voice on the need for clinically led commissioning while remaining critical about some of the Department of Health's ideas. There are many other commissioners on the list who are demonstrating incredible leadership in their local areas and are being recognised nationally for this. There are many LMC leaders who do great work managing the excesses of NHS managers in their local areas, and whose influence spreads well beyond their geographical remit. The list also includes a number of GP researchers recognised as doing important work that is having a national impact.

As we approach the opening of a new parliamentary session and a new academic year, it seems appropriate to look back through a tumultuous year for general practice and ahead to what is bound to be another one. Pulse's Top 50 list puts a spotlight on the faces that have come to define the profession on a local and a national stage.

For the first time, we have also included a list of GPs whose star is rising but who just missed out on the Top 50 – and there are some really interesting names in there who I'm sure will make an appearance in forthcoming years. And that is perhaps the most compelling message from this list – that there are talented GPs waiting in the wings to take general practice forward. At this critical point in the future of the profession, perhaps more than at any other, that is to be welcomed.

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