Shaw attended school in suburban North London.

Shaw qualified in medicine from the University of Leeds in 1986, having taken an extra year to gain a further BSc (Hons) Degree in Pathology. 

His early training encompassed posts in prestigious academic centres (St James's-Leeds, St Marys-London, BRI-Bristol, Addenbrookes-Cambridge) in order to gain the best training experience. His surgical examinations were distinguished by the award of prizewinner for the FRCS exam in 1988.

Shaw spent two years of academic research studying the immunological effects of surgery for cancer and other conditions. His work gained an MD (Doctorate of Medicine) degree in 1993. His work was subsequently awarded a Hunterian Professorship title with the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Returning to senior surgical training in London and Leeds, Shaw expertise became focussed on upper gastrointestinal surgery and laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. He was fortunate to gain a post as Associate Professor of surgery at the world-class Academic Surgery Unit in Hong Kong from 1995-1997.

Shaw returned to the UK as a Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Surgery at St James's Hospital in Leeds. He progressed to become Chief of Upper GI Surgery at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth in 1998. Shaw now works part-time for the NHS and in addition pursues his media interests and independent practice. Shaw performs weight loss surgery and gastric band procedures.