Hailed as the ‘most skilled political operator in GP-land' by one of our panel, Dr Michael Dixon remains one of UK general practice's most prominent figures.
Known for having ‘the ear of policy makers' when it comes to commissioning, NHS Alliance chair Dr Dixon has supported the Government's plans to establish CCGs but has not been afraid to challenge ministers – as well as his own profession – on issues he believes need tackling.
He has repeatedly urged the Government to hold its nerve and throw its‘full weight' behind GP commissioning, but also raised concerns about CCGs becoming too ‘centrally driven' and ‘bureaucratic'.
But as an eternal optimist, he believes GPs are now well placed to lead the changes.
‘I think there could be an enhanced role for GPs, not only in looking after patients but in looking after the whole of our population,' says Dr Dixon, who will retain a strong voice in his new role as interim president of NHS Clinical Commissioners.
‘I think the attitude is changing. There was a lot of negativity and understandable fears about the privatisation of the NHS. I hope those fears won't be realised and I think GPs will start to see there are great opportunities for those who want to enhance their role.'
Dr Dixon is also a well-known advocate of complementary medicine and is chair of the College of Medicine, the unofficial successor to the defunct Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health, of which he was medical director.