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29. Dr Raj Patel

As deputy medical director for primary care at NHS England and NHS Improvement, Dr Raj Patel is at the heart of policymaking for GPs.

He’s been involved in discussions that led to the £4.5bn primary care funding boost in the NHS long-term plan, as well as Brexit contingency plans.

The Tameside-based GP partner has spent much of the past year travelling around the country, helping to prepare GPs for the rollout of new primary care networks.

At the same time, at a regional level he has launched seven support sites for practices struggling to keep hold of GPs.

This year he received an MBE for services to healthcare – specifically for changes he led to the reporting of deaths and incidents related to controlled drugs as part of attempts to rebuild the public’s trust in the medical profession following the murders committed by Harold Shipman.

Why influential: Highly-regarded role model for GP policymaking

What others say: ‘Prefers to work in the background away from the limelight’

Random fact: Performed stand-up comedy at Manchester Fringe Festival this summer