Barbara Hakin has spent many years improving NHS care
A host of doctors, nurses and other NHS staff have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
Dr Barbara Hakin, East Midlands health authority chief executive and key player in GP negotiation over pay and contracts, has become a dame.
After 30 years in the NHS she remains "passionate" about her work, she said.
Professor Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is among those knighted.
He told the BBC he was "delighted" at the surprise honour which was a recognition of his work in maternity care.
A "clinical dashboard" developed by Professor Arulkumaran to show patients the improvements that had been made to maternity services at Northwick Park Hospital is now being adopted by other areas of healthcare in the NHS.
Andrew Cash, one of the longest serving chief executives in the NHS has also received a knighthood.
Head of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, he also lead the Millennium project to ensure a smooth transition to the year 2000 across the health service IT systems.
Dr Hakin worked for 20 years as a GP before moving into PCT management.
She also chaired a group responsible for the Department of Health's response to the Shipman Inquiry and has been at the forefront of controversial GP contract discussions.
Sir John Brigstocke, chairman of NHS East Midlands said she had made an incredible contribution to the NHS including leading one of the best performing NHS trusts in the country.
"I can think of no one more deserving of this great honour."
Dr Hakin added: "I am very honoured to receive the news of this very prestigious recognition.
"After so many years in the NHS, I continue to be passionate about this great service and making a difference to patient care."
Other NHS staff recognised included Dr Judith Hulf, president of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, and Elizabeth Redfern, director of patient care and nursing for the South West Strategic Health Authority, and leader in the battle to reduce hospital acquired infections, who both become CBEs.
Among the OBEs are Professor Catherine Niven, an internationally recognised expert in research and education for the nursing, midwifery and allied health professions, and Professor Denis Wesley Vernon, who was responsible for transforming the previously failing NHS podiatry service in Sheffield.
There are also MBEs for six nurses and three GPs.
Among non-clinical staff, an MBE goes to Michael Duckett, catering manager at the Royal Brompton Hospital, who has worked with the Soil Association and and London Food Link to provide more fresh food for patients.