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13. Professor Helen Lester

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Professor Helen Lester holds great sway over GPs' daily working lives as a result of her role as clinical lead in the development of the QOF.

She combines the task of overseeing pilots of potential new QOF indicators with her post as professor of primary care at Birmingham University – and she's also a jobbing GP in the city.

She says: ‘With the QOF, I sometimes think we focus too much on overall indicators and need to look at it as a whole.

‘I'd like more regular changes that would make QOF a routine part of everyday workload rather than a hassle. We also need better communication from the Government to frontline practices and patients to create a sense of greater trust.'

As one of our panel commented, Professor Lester is a ‘wonderful researcher who has driven the knowledge base of our profession for decades'.

Professor Lester herself says her priority is to develop clinical tools that GPs will actually want to use – one such example is an algorithm she developed with Diabetes UK this year, which reminds GPs when to introduce metformin.

She is also chair of the clinical innovation and research centre at the RCGP, where she is keen to expand research into cancer, diabetes and mental health.

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