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21. Professor Bill Irish

Professor Bill Irish comes in at number 21 in the 2013 Pulse Power 50. He has risen three places from last year’s list.

Professor Bill Irish heads the office responsible for recruiting medical graduates to GP training, so it is no surprise that he considers his biggest challenge for the year ahead to be ‘working with the college, Health Education England and the deaneries in the devolved home countries to further expand the numbers of young doctors training to be GPs across the UK’.

It is quite a task. The Government has promised 3,250 GP trainees per year by 2015, but only attracted 2,787 this August – an increase of just 95 on 2012.

But GPs should be glad of having Professor Irish on their side. Passionate about general practice, he is clear on how to improve the situation, being the person who bangs the drum about the huge regional variation in GP recruitment.

He is also not afraid to pick battles when needed, telling Pulse this year that the top universities in the UK - the so-called Russell Group - needed to pull its weight in terms of encouraging students to go into general practice.

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