The Royal College of Anaesthetists has awarded Professor Pandit its highest honour.

Professor Jaideep Pandit

St John’s College congratulates Jaideep Pandit, Fellow and Tutor in Medicine and Professor of Anaesthesia, on being awarded the Gold Medal by the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA). The highest award offered by the RCoA, the Gold Medal is rarely given. This prestigious award is for sustained service to the RCoA and to the specialty at the highest level and has been given in recognition of Professor Pandit’s achievements in research, nationally and internationally.

Professor Pandit has published widely in fields as diverse as respiratory physiology and difficult airway management; cardiovascular physiology and vascular anaesthesia (publishing a chapter in Gray’s Anatomy on carotid artery structure); operating theatre management; neuroscience and pharmacology. In particular, Professor Pandit led the largest-ever study on ‘accidental awareness during surgery’, making recommendations that have changed practice and reduced the incidence of this much-feared complication of anaesthesia. Working in the field of anaesthetic mechanisms with Professor Keith Buckler in DPAG, they discovered that common anaesthetics can antagonise each other’s effects: hitherto it was believed that anaesthetics only acted additively to achieve the same effect. This mutual competition/antagonism now raises the possibility that novel mechanisms of actions are responsible for the anaesthetic effect.

For the specialty, Professor Pandit wrote the Academic Strategy report that laid the foundations for the National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia, 2006, and for academic training pathways. Recently, as Chair of the Safe Anaesthesia Liaison Group he has led numerous patient safety developments and co-written key national guidelines for clinical practice in monitoring and preventing ‘Never Events’ and other complications.

Commenting on the award, Professor Pandit said:

'I had never expected this award. There are some things one applies for in the knowledge that someone has to be a recipient, but this is an award made out-of-the-blue as it were, with no prior knowledge or expectation. I am humbled and honoured that somewhere a very distinguished panel of peers has felt moved enough by my work, and that of my colleagues and collaborators, to honour me in this way. This is a rarely given award: the last award made to an Oxford anaesthetist was 20 years ago, to the then Nuffield Professor Pierre Foex, and to follow in his steps is a special privilege.'

The Gold Medal is the latest in a long series of awards and distinctions for Professor Pandit’s contributions to clinical anaesthesia, patient safety and research. These include the Gold Jubilee Medal 2000, the Macintosh Professorship 2012, the Humphry Davy Medals 2015 and 2018, and the Rowling Medal 2019, all from the Royal College. He was also awarded the Spring Silver Medal 2012 from the Irish College of Anaesthetists, the Emerald/EDRF International Prize in Healthcare Management 2017, and British Medical Journal Award for Patient Safety 2020. He has delivered the Victor Horsley Lecture of the British Medical Association 2015, and the Spyros Makris Lecture of the Greek Society of Anaesthesia.