Professor Martin Elliott

Professor Of Paediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery

Martin Elliott is one of the country’s leading paediatric surgeons and served as Co-Medical Director at The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. He has led teams in complex operations, managed large departments, and been at the forefront of medical and operational innovations for three decades.

In arguably one of the most pressured, sensitive areas of work, Martin provides a unique look behind the scenes of a world few truly understand, yet everyone is aware of. He examines the pressures and the priorities, the highs and lows, and the array of lessons for organisations, teams and leaders.

Martin has led and been involved with technical innovations such as growing human tissue and stem cell-based transplants. He has changed areas of patient outcome and experience. He has overseen co-operation between heart departments around the UK and Europe and trained surgeons and teams around the world and contributed to service and operational reforms.

As a leader in the theatre and the hospital, he analyses when to step back and let others, more expert in their chosen field, take charge, and when and how to step in when things start to go wrong. He considers the dynamics of an effective team, especially working under stress and with tight timeframes (a baby’s heart can only be stopped for two hours before irreparable damage is done).

Martin has worked with industries outside healthcare, including motorsport, aviation and with NASA, to improve the processes and understanding of all involved. For example, McLaren F1’s pit crew helped reinvent how surgical teams hand-over to intensive care teams (one of the riskiest parts of the operation process) and how to spot potential problems before they become chronic, by comparing the vital signs of the child to engine performance data.

In an area where there is nowhere to hide (success and failure are a matter of life and death; families demand answers, and children ask blunt questions about what’s happening to them) Martin has worked to create a culture of accountability without blame. Allowing for failure as long as there is insight from that failure and enabling others to highlight errors regardless of their role or seniority.

With stories from his career, as well as the wider health service, Martin provides practical insights into innovation, leadership and culture, as well as a fascinating look at the surgery, holding a life in your hands, and what surgeons really think.

To book Professor Martin Elliott as the motivational speaker for your corporate event or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing agent@championsukplc.com or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.

Blown away by Professor Martin Elliott. An inspirational approach to teamwork.

Matt Cornwell, 1st Team Manager at Leicester Tigers

A fantastic example of taking something outside your industry and applying it to your own work.

Mandy Sansom, Client Relationship Direct at Ember Marketing Consultancy Ltd

The talk about the way Professor Martin Elliott and his team worked with Formula One to achieve such critical goals, was profound and inspiring. So much can be taken from this and applied in less life or death situations.

Kathryn Dawson, Director, Marketing Strategy at Bullitt Group

The presentation from Professor Martin Elliott – the analogy of babies’ hearts with F1 Pitstop processes was remarkable and we could definitely apply this to our own business in Causeway and in particular how we interact with each other to act as a single team on our daily ‘operations’.

Paul Madeira, Executive Vice President at Causeway Technologies

This was a privileged insight into the world and mindset of a children’s heart surgeon.

Michael Brooke, Head of Innovation for Global Markets at BNP Paribas

Moving and thought-provoking about not always thinking your industry knows best and collaborating across teams.

Karen McLaughlin, Global Operations Director at CSC

Professor Elliott is an extraordinary communicator, in one-to-one settings and also on the large stage. There are a few things that makes Martin really standout. First, his total command of the clinical subject matter…. Martin is able to make the details of surgery both accessible to non-clinicians and compelling to fellow practitioners at the same time. Second, Martin’s willingness to go way outside the boundaries of a CT surgeon and a medical director… I have seen Martin present convincingly on subjects as wide-ranging as health economics, medico-legal and regulatory dispute, Health transformation and human factors, Health technology and med-tech, and health ethics.

Lastly, Martin is willing to confront industry taboos head on and frequently displays daring, combined with wit, on sensitive subjects such as negligence and blame, the boundaries of ethics, the psychology of surgeons and the fears of patients and their parents.

This makes Martin’s message fresh, compelling and authentic and takes listeners far beyond what they might be expecting to hear from a heart surgeon.


Parker Moss, Chief Technology and Transformation Officer, Virgin Care

All the feedback I got on the evening was very positive and achieved what I wanted. I think you could tell from the atmosphere that you had everyone captured.

Gareth Jenkins, UK & Ireland Managing Director at DS Smith

We were all very inspired and interested by his presentation.

Most of us who’ve grown-up in F1 recognise attributes in our industry that foster achievement and performance however it’s so interesting to learn of a real-life example showing how cross-discipline information exchange can benefit all .
The world needs more of this kind of thinking,…. Brexit and other global events wouldn’t cloud our lives if only this could happen sooner than later.

​‘Absolutely fascinating and Martin was an excellent speaker.’

‘Brilliant lecture! Thank you very much!’

Audience Members at Invited Keynote at Mercedes AMG F1, June 2016

Brackley, UK

It was a fantastic presentation and I feel enormously privileged and grateful to have been there for it. And enlightened and enthused as a result!

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity

Audience Member, Keynote Presentation, Whitehall Industry Group, London 20