Changing hearts and minds

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 15 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1416

Ian Philp, the national director of services for older people, tells Lynn Eaton how he is trying to redesign the NHS through the eyes of older people

The trouble with Ian Philp, if there is any at all, is that he is so terribly nice. Maybe it's the winning Scottish accent, but he reminds you of a modern day Dr Finlay who has somehow held on to that bedside manner often forgotten in today's high pressured NHS. You can't help wondering, though, whether perhaps he is just a bit too nice for the difficult job he has ahead of him.

Professor Philp's appointment as the national director for older people's services (the older people's tsar) 18 months ago caused a few ripples—some of jealousy, no doubt—among certain quarters of the medical profession. How could one so young (Philp is only 42) win such a high profile job? Now the question is less about his age, more about his ability to win friends and influence people—not just in the medical profession and among older people's groups, but in the corridors of power.

Philp is director of the Sheffield Institute for Studies in Ageing and professor of health care for elderly people at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, where he …

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