Keith Willett

Medical Direktor, Professor
Acute Care and Emergency Preparedness to NHS England

Professor Keith Willett is the Medical Director for Acute Care and Emergency Preparedness to NHS England; he is the Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery at the University of Oxford. An NHS consultant surgeon for 25 years he has extensive experience of trauma and emergency care, driving service transformation and healthcare management. He has taught surgery, urgent care service transformation and medical leadership extensively across the NHS and internationally in developed and low income countries. He was deployed by government as a civilian surgeon in both Afghanistan and Libya to lead the medical evacuation of casualties.

In 2003 he founded the Kadoorie Centre for Critical Care Research at the John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford focusing on the treatment of critically ill and injured patients; he still leads an active research programme in musculoskeletal injury and recovery.
He was the co-founder of the unique 24-hour consultant-resident Trauma Service at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford in 1994. Building on that model, in 2009 he was appointed the first National Clinical Director for Trauma Care to the Department of Health and was charged with developing and implementing government policy across the NHS to radically improve the care of older people with fragility hip fractures and to establish Regional Trauma Networks and Major Trauma Centres. By 2012 both re-organisations and care pathways were successfully in place and are now credited with marked improvement in patient care and survival.

In his current role, he has the national medical oversight of acute NHS services ranging from pre-hospital and ambulance services, emergency departments, urgent surgery, acute medicine, critical care, defence medical services, children’s and maternity care, and national major incidents. He leads the programme to transform urgent and emergency care services across the NHS in England.

IMPS, a children’s safety charity he launched 21 years ago, has trained over 300,000 children in risk awareness, first aid and life support. He was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Years Honour’s List in 2016 for services to the NHS.