Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2021

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Dr Nikita Kanani


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DR NIKITA KANANI is a woman on a mission. The London-based GP wants to change primary care for the better – and so far, she seems unstoppable.

She was instrumental in securing £4.5 billion of funding for primary and community care in 2019, as part of the NHS’s long-term plan for 2023-2024. She also negotiated the most substantial changes to the GP contract since 2004, producing a deal to incentivise practices to join networks of 30,000 to 50,000 patients in exchange for various new pots of funding.

Her passion and leadership led to her appointment as the director of primary care of the NHS in 2018, making history as the first female in the role.

Leadership was not new territory for Kanani; prior to joining NHS England, she was chief clinical officer of NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Her enthusiasm for the profession has not gone unnoticed by her peers, either. Last September, Kanani was ranked as the second most influential GP in the UK by British primary care magazine Pulse. It praised Kanani for her passion, describing her as an “empowered female leader wanting to make a difference for GPs”.

At the time, the GP said she was “flattered” by the news, but influence was “only beneficial if you use it to lift others”.

“I see myself as a small part of the picture for changing and improving primary care, and in supporting the crucial role of general practice throughout the country for the benefit of patients and the profession,” Kanani, who was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2017, says.

“There is much to do but we have made a start. We now need to build on that together, to bring about a new era of primary care.”

Throughout the pandemic, she has offered support to

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