Jim Down – Keynote Speaker

Consultant in Intensive Care and Anaesthesia at University College London Hospitals and Author

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Specialist Subjects

  • Risk and resilience
  • Work related stress and the impact on Mental Health
  • Moral Injury
  • High profile Intensive Care cases
  • Death - is it really as clear cut as it seems?
  • The ethics of intensive care
  • The Covid pandemic and Intensive Care
  • Medicine in the glare of the media


  • English


Jim Down is a consultant in intensive care and anaesthesia at University College London Hospitals and author of two memoirs both published by Viking, Penguin: ‘Life Support. Diary of an ICU doctor on the Frontline of the Covid Crisis’ & ‘Life in the Balance. A doctor’s stories of Intensive Care’.

At various times Jim Down has been Clinical Director of his department, chair of the consultants’ group, Chair of Trust Guidelines Committee and Trust Ethics Lead. He has also lectured around the world at major medical and literary events including as the Aneurin Bevan Lecturer at the Hay Literary festival 2023.

Through his career Jim Down has been first responder at a major train crash, looked after multiple victims of the 2005 London Bombings, treated radioactive Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, managed a patient with an Ebola like virus, stabbed himself with a contaminated needle and worked on the frontline throughout the pandemic in one of the country’s busiest Covid ICUs.

Then in 2021 after a particularly stressful and tragic case he suffered a mental health crisis and had to stop working and take stock.

Following this Jim Down developed techniques to improve his own resilience and in doing so gained a deeper understanding of the risks faced by both patients and doctors.

An entertaining, humorous and thoughtful speaker. First-hand accounts of some high-profile ICU cases and health emergencies. Reflections on risk (both professional and personal), resilience and what it means to be a good doctor. An honest, personal account of the effect a highly stressful career can have on mental health and how to recover.

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