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Keith Willett

Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery

Professor Willett graduated in medicine from Charing Cross Hospital Medical School (University of London) in 1981 and completed his Specialist Higher Surgical Training in Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery in 1991. He then did a Clinical / Research Trauma Fellowship at the renowned Sunnybrook Trauma Centre in Toronto, Canada.

He has been in clinical practice as a Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford since 1992. He co-founded the unique consultant delivered Oxford Trauma Service in 1993 and his clinical practice has been exclusively with the immediate treatment, rehabilitation and reconstructive surgery of patients sustaining musculo-skeletal and soft tissue injuries. Unlike most orthopaedic surgeons, his practice is dedicated to those patients who have sustained injuries. His practice reflects Oxford’s role as a regional and national referral centre for complex trauma and multiply injured patients.

He also held a consultant appointment at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford in post-injury reconstruction surgery and was an Honorary Senior Clinical Lectureship in Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery until 2004 when he was elected as Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery in the University of Oxford. He has extensive experience of trauma care, service redesign and healthcare management. In 2009 he was appointed by the Government’s Department of Health as the National Clinical Director for Trauma Care 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 introduce Regional Trauma Networks and Major Trauma Centres. By 2012 both reorganisations and care pathways were successfully in place across England. In 2012 Professor Keith Willett was appointed as National Director for Acute Episodes of Care to the NHS England and is now seconded full-time from the University.


Since 1992 he has been a regular faculty member and lectures each year on national and international orthopaedic trauma surgery courses at both basic and advanced level; he is also internationally sought after to teach on clinician-led health management.

Professor Willett has a particular interest and has published research relating to the care of the multiply injured patient, acetabular and pelvic fractures, fractures in the elderly, limb fracture surgery, fracture biomechanics, accident prevention and clinical outcome studies of orthopaedic trauma surgery techniques. In 2003 he founded the Kadoorie Centre for Critical Care Research and Education focusing on outcomes of treatment in the injured patient and established the Oxford Trauma Research Group. His recent major research grants relate to the study of ankle fractures in older people and platelet rich plasma as an accelerant of tendon healing.