Read the latest HealthWatch newsletter:  Newsletter 116, Summer 2021

Dr Sarah Wollaston


Dr Wollaston is a rarity – a scientifically literate and sceptical politician. She has consistently used her background as a hospital doctor and GP, and her experience as a forensic examiner for the police, to bring a logical and dispassionate analysis to social problems and affairs of state. Further, she has had the courage to change her mind in the face of new evidence, and even – when supported by sound evidence – to defy her party whips. Her track record includes advising on the ill-considered Saatchi Bill, supporting minimum-unit-pricing for alcohol, chairing the government’s Health Select Committee, and working to protect patients’ confidential information. She has maintained always the highest level of personal integrity. She was the 2018 winner of the HealthWatch Award.

Declaration of interests

To follow.

Sir Michael Rawlins


Sir Michael Rawlins was the chair of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency from 2014 to 2020, and chairman of UK Biobank until December 2019. Previous to that he was chair of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) from 1999 to 2013, and President of the Royal Society of Medicine from 2012 to 2014.

A medical doctor who went on to research safety and efficacy of pharmacological treatments as a professor at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sir Michael chaired the Committee on Safety of Medicines in the 1990s. Amongst his numerous awards and achievements, he was knighted in 1999 for services to the improvement of patient protection from the side effects of medicinal drugs. He once told the Guardian, “All young healthcare professionals, irrespective of whether they eventually undertake research themselves, need to know how to understand what really constitutes ‘evidence’ if they are to practice their profession, to the highest standards, in an ever-changing world.”

Declaration of interests

None declared.

Prof Steve Jones


Steve Jones is emeritus professor of Human Genetics, at the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London; and president of the Galton Institute. An accomplished communicator on evolution and genetics, he appears frequently on radio and television and is a regular columnist for the Daily Telegraph. His academic career is distinguished by his elegant and continuing experimental work on the ecological genetics of snails and fruit flies. Steve Jones is the author of successful and influential books on science for the lay reader, including The Language of the Genes and Darwin’s Ghost.

Declaration of interests

None declared.

Dr Margaret McCartney


Margaret McCartney is a GP in Glasgow who has been a regular column writer for the BMJ and the Financial Times, broadcasts for Radio 4's Inside Health, and is the author of The Patient Paradox - why sexed up medicine is bad for your health, and Living with Dying, finding care and compassion at the end of life. She is also a tutor at the University of Glasgow and chair of the Royal College of GPs Overdiagnosis group — for shared decisions in healthcare.

She says that it's vitally important that we are honest about what we know and what we don't know in  healthcare — and to try and reduce uncertainties where we can. We need to be equally critical of orthodox and alternative medicine — the standard of evidence should be the same, otherwise people are needlessly harmed.

Declaration of interests

My declaration of interest is on Who Pays this Doctor? and on my blog.

Robin Ince


Robin Ince is a comedian, actor and writer, best known for co-presenting the award-winning BBC Radio 4 science/comedy chat show “The Infinite Monkey Cage” with physicist Brian Cox. Dubbed an uber-geek for his rationalist and humanist views, he has explained himself very sensibly in New Scientist: “I think it is a pity to live your life in ignorance and embrace that ignorance—for instance with ideas like intelligent design.” Ince organises highly rational events at the Bloomsbury Theatre and at the Hammersmith Apollo, such as the successful seasonal science, comedy and music show Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People.

Declaration of interests

None declared.

Lord Dick Taverne


Dick Taverne is a Liberal Democrat Member of the House of Lords. He was elected as Labour MP for Lincoln in 1962–1972 and was a Minister in the Home Office and Treasury between 1966 and1970. In 1973 he was re-elected as independent social democrat MP for Lincoln until 1974. In 1972 he launched the Institute for Fiscal Studies and was its first director, later chairman, until 1983. After appointment to the Lords in 1996, he founded the charity Sense About Science in 2002 and was its chairman until 2012. He is the author of The March of Unreason, Science, Democracy and the New Fundamentalism (2006) and Against the Tide — Politics and Beyond, a Memoir (2014).

He says, "I strongly support HealthWatch because it is one of the leading voices exposing bad science and promoting the formidable and vital task of improving the public understanding of science."

Declaration of interests

No further interests to declare.


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