The medical director of online consultation service Babylon, Dr Mobasher Butt, has been named the most influential GP in the UK in 2018 in Pulse’s annual Power 50 list.

Dr Butt, who also oversees Babylon’s GP at Hand service for NHS patients, takes over as number one from BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey, who topped the list in 2017 – and this year makes number three.

This year’s second place is taken by Dr Nigel Watson, who is leading the Government’s GP partnership review.

Making up the remaining top spots are Royal College of General Practitioners chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, in fourth place, and House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston, in fifth position.

Pulse’s annual list comprises 50 GPs who are shaping the future of general practice.

It is published alongside a group of 10 rising stars – those GPs under the age of 40 who have an increasing influence on the profession – as well as a series of tributes to local GPs for their hard work.

Dr Butt took the Power 50 number one spot following the launch of Babylon’s GP at Hand service in November. More than 30,000 patients have registered with GP at Hand in the nine months since the service was set up in partnership with west London practice Dr Jefferies and Partners.

The GP at Hand service has been accused by some parts of the profession of cherry-picking healthier patients and destabilising general practice funding. However, it has been praised by the new health secretary, Matt Hancock, who is a patient of the service.

Meanwhile NHS England has proposed changes to the GP contract to allow fairer distribution of funding between ‘digital-first’ practices and their traditional counterparts.

Dr Butt told Pulse that GP at Hand wants to expand across England – and that there is interest in the devolved nations. He says his team is in discussions ‘with tens of practices’ about setting up partnerships.

Pulse editor Jaimie Kaffash said: ‘At a time of major change for general practice, Pulse’s Power 50 GPs have the power to shape the profession – for better or for worse. These GPs are moulding the future of partnerships, developing new models or showing how grassroots can affect change.’

The 2018 Power 50 list was put together by Pulse following hundreds of nominations from GP colleagues.