Professor Peter Whitfield

Prof Peter Whitfield Honorary Professor and Consultant Neurological Surgeon

Peter is a Consultant Neurosurgeon on the Specialist Register based at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust. Peter is also an Honorary Professor in the Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth University.  

Peter was an undergraduate at Southampton University Medical School (1982-87).  He graduated with a Distinction in Clinical Medicine, the Sutton Prize for Surgery and the Newitt Memorial Prize.  He was inspired to pursue a career in neurosurgery following lectures in neuroanatomy, undergraduate work on the spinal cord and placements in neurosurgery.  Following medical and surgical “house jobs” in Southampton, Peter spent a year teaching and studying anatomy at the University of Glasgow. Peter then worked with Professor Sir Graham Teasdale (originator of the Glasgow Coma Scale) and colleagues at the Institute of Neurological Science in Glasgow and in the Emergency Department of Glasgow Royal Infirmary.  Peter then undertook training in Trauma, Orthopaedics (including spinal surgery) and General Surgery in Winchester (1990-92).  At this point, he was ready to specialise in neurological surgery.

Peter was appointed registrar in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge (1993).  Over the next 8 years he trained in neurological surgery and completed a PhD assessing the mechanisms of brain injury following deprivation of blood flow (seen in cerebral ischaemia and traumatic brain injury).  Peter’s clinical training included cerebrovascular neurosurgery, traumatic brain injury, skull base surgery, pituitary surgery, neuro-oncology, hydrocephalus and spinal surgery. He was awarded a prestigious MRC Clinical Training Fellowship under the supervision of Professor John Pickard CBE and won the Royal Society of Medicine Registrar’s Prize and three other national level prizes for research work.  Following completion of training, he worked as a consultant/ honorary clinical senior lecturer in Aberdeen, Scotland for 2 years before moving to the South West.

Peter undertakes mainly cranial neurosurgery and some non-instrumented spinal surgery.  He has interests in traumatic brain injury, neurovascular surgery and neuro-oncology.  He regularly takes part in clinical research and has been Principal Investigator in a number of studies over the last 2 decades. He has published a book on Traumatic Brain Injury and multiple book chapters and scientific papers.  He worked as Professionalism Lead for the Peninsula Medical School for more than a decade (2013-23).  

Peter was the Training Programme Director for neurosurgery in South West England before becoming the Chair of the Specialist Advisory Committee in Neurological Surgery (2017-2020), the Secretary and then Chair of the National Neurosurgery Selection Board (2014-2020).  Peter has considerable experience as an examiner of trainee surgeons as an MRCS and FRCS Examiner, an ICSBE Assessor and as Chairman of the Fellowship of the European Board of Neurological Surgery examination (2015-23).  Peter was heavily involved in the development of the UK and European Neurosurgical Curricula.

Peter is President of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons (2022-24). 

When not working Peter enjoys numerous outdoor activities including sailing, birdwatching and photography.



General areas of expertise:

Cranial neurosurgery and non-instrumented spinal surgery

Particular areas of expertise:

Traumatic brain injury, neurovascular surgery, and neuro-oncology

Contact Details:

Secretary: 01752 431114 or 01752 432567

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