60 seconds with Jonathan Knowles

22 December 2015

Jonathan Knowles, consultant laparoscopic emergency and colorectal surgeonJonathan Knowles is a consultant laparoscopic emergency and colorectal surgeon.

What does a consultant laparoscopic emergency and colorectal surgeon do on a daily basis?

In brief, on a daily basis we meet patients and come up with a diagnosis. Once we have worked out what the problem is we will try to work out the best plan to make them better, this commonly involves surgery. The rest of our time is spent doing the surgery, which is mostly fixing problems in the abdomen.

What’s your greatest personal/career achievement?

Getting a consultant job at the Royal Free London!

What’s the best thing about your job?

Making people better. We are very lucky to be in a position to help ill and vulnerable people. The kindness and gratitude of our patients, some of whom have very difficult medical conditions, is what keeps you coming work.

How long have you worked at the Royal Free London?

Two years.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of a career in colorectal surgery?

If you want to do it, go for it with all you have. If you aren’t sure then it isn’t for you.

What was your first job?

Peeling potatoes and washing up in the Victoria pub in Highgate.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Imagine what will happen to the patient if you don’t do the operation that you think they may need.

What are the most significant challenges of your role?

Managing the staff around me and keeping up with all the administration.

What’s the skill you’d most like to have?


If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

I’d be a chef.

If you were singing karaoke, what song would you pick?

Rocket Man by Elton John (please see my answer above, my rendition is not very close to the original).

Tell us something about you that very few people know…

I keep tropical fish and coral.

If you could time travel, where would you go?

Egypt, at the time of the great pharaohs.