Intended for healthcare professionals


Terence Stephenson: Leading by example

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 28 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3465


Terence Stephenson is a paediatrician who chairs the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. Described by the Guardian as “incisive and articulate,” he is heavily involved in medical policy making, having served on the Future Forum set up amid Andrew Lansley’s reorganisation of the NHS in England. He too is a reformer—keen to see fewer, better centres for acute services and less unjustified variation in the care provided. He supports a tax on sugary drinks to combat obesity and recently promised to lose 5 lb (2.3 kg)—although he is not overweight—to prove that he is serious.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be a bin man (aged 5).

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

David Weatherall, then Nuffield professor of medicine at Oxford. He was the first to show me that a doctor can be a clinician and a scientist.

What was the worst mistake in your career?

Being called to see an ill baby and asking the exhausted carer …

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