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Observations BMJ Confidential

Michael Dixon: Best health secretary could be Hunt

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 15 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g18

In the latest in its series asking the movers and shakers of the medical world about work, life, and less serious matters, the BMJ spoke to the chairman of the NHS Alliance


Michael Dixon, 61, a founder member of the bow tie fraternity, combines two abiding interests: enhancing the role of general practitioners in commissioning care and promoting integrated health. A GP in Devon, he has been chairman of NHS Alliance since its formation in 1998, has been re-elected every year, and saw its aims made law with the creation of clinical commissioning groups in the 2012 Health and Social Care Bill. He was medical director of the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health, which promoted Prince Charles’s views on complementary medicine, and now chairs the College of Medicine, which focuses on improving individual and population health.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be a missionary doctor in Africa.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Anthony Barker, a missionary doctor in Africa—in Zululand to be precise—and a Christian Marxist. His incessant good humour and courage against the awfulness of apartheid and his total commitment to his patients were awe inspiring and life changing for me as a student on a gap year who was already signed up to study humanities at Oxford. He also wore a bow tie.

What was the worst mistake in your career?

Allowing myself to be outnumbered and bamboozled by senior …

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