Dr Timothy Ho
Medicine alumnus Dr Timothy Ho, whose career in the NHS spans 30 years, was awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Year Honours list. The award was in recognition of his services to the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic, and his work as a Medical Director at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Speaking about his award, Dr Ho says, “It was unexpected, because I am usually involved in nominating others for awards. My award was a fantastic honour, and is as much a reflection of the people I work with as it is a reflection of my own work.”
After graduating from St George’s in 1991, Dr Ho took on house jobs in South Thames and worked in Leicester as a Senior House Officer, before moving back to St George’s as a Registrar. Following a period in research at Imperial College, he became a consultant at Frimley Park Hospital in 2004, before moving into a role as Clinical Director and, in 2013, taking on his current role as Medical Director.
In 2013, Dr Ho played a key role in Frimley Park Hospital being the first Trust in England to be rated ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC, followed a year later by overseeing the acquisition and subsequent transformation of Wexham Park Hospital, moving it from special measures to a ‘Good’ rating with the CQC in the space of a year.
During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, he played a central role in the rapid transformation of services within the two acute sites, which served one of the highest cohorts of Covid-19 patients in the South East. In the space of two and a half weeks - and during a period of reduced capacity in the executive team - he reassigned 500 colleagues to frontline Covid-19 roles, reconfigured and quadrupled HDU and ICU capacity and led the conversion to virtual consultations. This resulted in a 900% increase in video and phone consultations to maintain outpatient work, with these consultations going from 1500 per month pre-pandemic to more than 26000 by September.
Dr Ho speaks of the long-lasting impact of the team’s efforts, saying, “As a result of the work carried out in the Covid-19 response, we achieved changes towards the NHS Long term plan in 10 months than had been expected to occur over 10 years. Speaking about the team’s success, he adds, “We are very collegiate-based. We try to remove a sense of hierarchy and encourage trainees (many of whom are from St George’s) to come back as consultant colleagues.”
Reflecting on his time at St Georges, he says, “St George’s instils in you a real sense of purpose, and my cohort have gone on to do great things. Tooting was a great place to study, and there was a wonderful sense of community - I’m still in touch with many of my former classmates. This was helped by the size of St George’s, compared to some of the much bigger London Universities. Its place as a specialist University makes it a very special, unique place to be."
Asked if he has any advice for the students following in his footsteps, he says, “Embrace your time at St George’s. When you look back on your time as a student, you will realise what a wonderful experience it was to study there”.