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08. Mike Farrar (new entry)

The straight-talking NHS Confederation chief executive – who took up the role in October 2011 – holds the steady pair of hands required to guide the service into the new world. As a former SHA boss, he has also been a vocal advocate for NHS managers, defending them from what he believes are unnecessary and unhelpful denigration from ministers.

Not afraid to tackle those in power on the big issues, he recently warned that the health service resembled ‘a supertanker heading for an iceberg', citing the ‘chronic failure' of politicians to communicate the pressing need for reconfigurations within the NHS.

As someone who has seen their fair share of NHS upheaval over the years – he was once the Department of Health's head of primary care responsible for setting up PCTs and PMS – his views are respected in general practice.