John Watkinson qualified from the Royal Free Hospital, London in 1979, and trained in ENT, Head and Neck and Plastic Surgery at Guys Hospital and The Royal Marsden. He has Fellowships in General Surgery and Otolaryngology, an MSc in Nuclear Medicine and MS in Surgery. He is an elected member (by thesis) of both the American Triological Society and the American Head & Neck Society. He held visiting professorships at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and then Duke in Carolina, USA before completing his training with a further Plastics Fellowship at Canniesburn Hospital, Glasgow.
He was a Consultant Head and Neck and Thyroid surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, University of Birmingham NHS Trust (1992 – 2017), and Consultant Thyroid Surgeon at The Royal Marsden Hospital, London (2016 – 2017). He is currently Honorary Paediatric Head and Neck and Thyroid Surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), and lectures in Anatomy at UCL, London.
He had a large thyroid clinical and research practice, supervised over 30 Higher Degrees and in 1998 was Hospital Surgical Doctor of the Year. He has published on all aspects of Head & Neck and Thyroid surgery; organised the Birmingham Head and Neck course (1997-2006) and is Chief Editor of several major textbooks including Scott Brown, Stell and Maran,Tips & Tricks in Endocrine Surgery, and has edited the latest Neck Section in Gray’s Anatomy. He was President of the British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists (2009-2011), President of British Association of Endocrine and Thyroid Surgeons (2011-2013) and is the first ENT surgeon to hold that honour.
He was President of the Royal Society of Medicine Laryngology Section (2014-2015). He has been involved in a number of National guidelines including NICE, BTA, BAHNO, DAHNO and ENT-UK, and was awarded a Hunterian Professorship in 2009 from The Royal College of Surgeons of England. He was appointed by [Dame] Tessa Jowell to serve on ARSAC (Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee) for the Government (1994 – 2002). From 2003 – 2010 he was an examiner for the Part III FRCS-ORL Exam. In 2015, he was awarded the Jobson Horne Prize by the BMA for his lifetime contribution to medicine in
ENT, and in 2019 was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the President and Counsel of BAHNO. John was also a member of the NCIN and NICR national committees.
John has given a number of eponymous lectures including the Stell memorial lecture (2005), John Palmer (Toronto 2007), the Leegard lecture (2009), Hunterian (2009), the Wilde Discourse (2011), RSM Presidential Address (2014) and the Thomas Tatum Lecture (2016). In 1994, together with Adrian Drake-Lee, the Warwickshire Cricketers, Dr Hilary Jones, the late Roy Castle and Peter Scudamore he co-founded The Get A-Head Charitable Trust (www.getahead.org.uk).
John is married with two children, enjoys travelling, watching all sports, fishing and fine wine!