Professor Chris Oliver

BSc (Hons), MB. BS, FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Tr and Orth), FRCS (Ed), FRCP (Ed), DMI RCSEd, FFSTEd, DM, FRSA

Chris Oliver was born (05/01/1960) in Forest Gate, East London to Dennis William Oliver and Gladys Eva Gill. Oliver firstly attended Gobions Junior School in Romford, followed by Romford County Technical High School. He graduated from University College Hospital Medical School, now part of University College London, with a MBBS degree in 1985 along with an intercalated BSc in Physiology in 1981.

In 1985, Oliver married Josephine Hilton. They have two children. He is an avid endurance cyclist and white-water kayaker. In 2013 he cycled 3415 miles from Los Angeles to Boston, USA with his younger daughter.

After house jobs in Cuckfield Hospital, Sussex and Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow he then prosected anatomy at University College London (1986). He completed FRCS(Eng) in 1989. Basic surgical training at Northwick Park Hospital before pursuing a career in Neurosurgery at The National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London. Not liking neurosurgery, he pursued orthopaedics and trauma surgery as a registrar in Yorkshire and then senior registrar at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry. He completed a doctorate (MD) from University College London in spinal muscle physiology and artificial intelligence (1992). He then completed his orthopaedic and trauma training with specialist fellowships in trauma orthopaedic surgery at Harborview Medical Centre, Seattle and John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. In Oxford he worked within the experimental resident on-call 24-hour-a-day trauma service. In 1997 he moved to Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh as a Consultant Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon with special interest in Hand Surgery and part-time senior lecturer to Department of Trauma Orthopaedics, University of Edinburgh. He retired from surgery in December 2017. He remains on the GMC register but has relinquished his licence to practice.

He was a member of Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) 2002-2012. He was the first director of The RCSEd Faculty of Medical Informatics and led the development of an innovative health informatics Diploma and MSc courses. He developed a global e-Learning website for the AO Foundation with AO Surgery. He was co-convener of all examinations of RCSEd 2006-2008. From 2008-2011 he was the National Chairman of the Intercollegiate Membership Royal College Surgeons (MRCS) examination for the UK and overseas and introduced and stabilised the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) exam. He has led professional surgical exams teams for the Surgical Royal Colleges in India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Oman, Kuwait, Malaysia, Sudan and Sri Lanka. He was one of the first Fellows of the Faculty of Surgical Trainers RCSEd (2014). He was a Fellow of the British Society Surgery of the Hand. He edited the multi-author Trauma surgery section of Oxford Textbook “Fundamentals of Surgery – Oxford Textbooks in Surgery” published in July 2016. Oliver has an interest in return to sport after injury, longevity and clavicle fractures.

In 2015 he became honorary Professor of Physical Activity for Health to Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC) at the University of Edinburgh. PAHRC is a research centre within the Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences in Moray House School of Education which aims to provide evidence of how to encourage people of all ages to ‘sit less and walk more’. In PAHRC he led the development of teaching and examination of undergraduate education in physical activity throughout the United Kingdom. He was one of a team that developed the first massive open online course in physical activity and evaluation. A British Journal of Sports Medicine Blog post in April 2016 described Olivers’ first year as Professor Physical Activity for Health. The professorship ended in 2018. Oliver has had a research interest in infographics and healthcare, one of the papers in this area has had significant Altmetric Score. In October 2016 Oliver gave the Sir Alexander Morison Lecture at Royal College Physicians of Edinburgh. In November 2016 Oliver became a member of the Cross Party Group on Sport and Active Living at The Scottish Parliament. Oliver contributed to the early development of Play on Pedals, getting every preschool child in Glasgow cycling.

In 2017 Oliver was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society Arts FRSA in recognition for his expertise to develop strategies and policies for public health, including physical and active living and the delivery of public health care.

Oliver holds strong views about obesity and physical activity and its importance in society. He believes that effective education is important in combating obesity and inactivity.

In 2007 he had a LapBand and lost 12 stone in weight, the band snapped and was removed in late 2016.

He has an interest in the study of predicting longevity and active ageing.

Oliver is a champion of innovation and attended International Futures Forum Capability Transformative Innovation Accelerator in 2017. He lead Qube Inspiration on Longevity September 2018.

In retirement he is an active member of the Scottish Fisheries Museum Boatyard in Anstruther, Fife both restoring old boats and sailing them.

In late 2018 he was made Associate Research Fellow, School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Transport Research Institute, Edinburgh Napier University.


1994 – Completed a Doctorate of Medicine thesis, University of London entitled “Development of surface electromyographic spectral analysis techniques for assessing paraspinal muscle function.” The thesis objectively quantified spinal muscular fitness using surface electromyographic spectral analysis techniques. Data was analysed by constructing artificial intelligence neural networks.
1995 – AO Trauma Fellowship Seattle, USA insight into a premier USA trauma centre.
1996 – Consultant Trauma Fellowship. The Oxford Trauma Unit, advanced skills in all aspects of trauma management.


  • 2017 – Cycled, Chile
  • 2015 – Cycled, Rajasthan, India
  • 2014 – Cycled 1,100 miles St Malo to Nice, France
  • 2013 – Cycled 3,500 miles Los Angeles to Boston, USA
  • 2012 – Expedition Medic. Wilderness Medical Certificate. Glenmore Lodge
  • 2012 – Whitewater kayaking. Bhutan (East), Trashigang.  Doctor
  • 2011 –  Whitewater kayaking. Grand Canyon, Colorado River. Doctor
  • 2010 – Whitewater kayaking. Nepal, Sun Kosi River.  Doctor
  • 2009 – Cycled 1,000 miles Lands End to John O’Groats
  • 2008 – Whitewater kayaking. Bhutan (West), Paro & Thrimpu.  Doctor
  • 1993 – Whitewater kayaking. India. Descent of upper River Ganges.  Doctor
  • 1983 – Whitewater kayaking. British Universities expedition River Zap. Turkey. Doctor & Team Leader
  • 1981 – Whitewater kayaking. British Expedition to British Columbia, Yukon & Alaska. Doctor