David Tolley trained in Leeds, London and the United States, holding a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston before his appointment as Consultant Urological Surgeon in Edinburgh.
He has been the Director of the Scottish Lithotriptor Centre, which is a National Specialist Referral Centre for patients with complex stone disease. He and his team have treated over 20,000 patients since the Centre first opened in 1987 publishing in excess of 100 papers on stone management and minimally invasive surgery and presenting at over 300 scientific meetings throughout the world.
He is in demand as a lecturer in Europe, North America, the Far East and Australia and continues to carry out operative demonstrations globally of surgical techniques developed in Edinburgh. These include laparoscopic kidney surgery for renal cancer as well as minimally invasive surgery for kidney obstruction, techniques which he pioneered, and has continued to teach, in Scotland for almost two decades.
His continuing work was recognised by the award of a King James IV Professorship by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 2008.
He developed Skills Training Programmes in laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery in 1995, the blueprint for which has since been widely adopted throughout Europe. He led the introduction of skills training in laparoscopic urology for BAUS as the first Chairman of the BAUS Section of Endourology in 2000.
He has served on the Council of the British Association of Urological Surgeons, Advisory Boards for the European Association of Urology and as a Director of the Endourology Society. He has been President of the European Intra Renal Surgery Society and the Association of Academic European Urologists as well as serving as the Director of Standards at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
He has been the recipient of several honorary awards from various urological international societies as well as a Doctoris honoris causa [Dhc], a Fellowship in Dental Surgery of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh [FDSRCSEd ad hominem] and the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh [FRCPEd]
He continues to practice as a Urological Surgeon in the Department of Urology at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh.