Lord Walton qualified from Newcastle Medical School (then part of the University of Durham). Walton was President of the British Medical Association (British Medical Association) from 1980 to 1982, President of the General Medical Council (General Medical Council) 1982 to 1989 and President of the Royal Society of Medicine from 1984 to 1986. He was also appointed second Warden of Green College, Oxford in 1983, where he stayed until 1989.
Green College merged with Templeton College, Oxford in 2008 to become Green Templeton College, located on the site that was previously Green College.
Having been knighted in 1979, Walton was created a life peer on 24 July 1989 as Baron Walton of Detchant, of Detchant in the County of Northumberland and sits as a crossbencher. From 1993 to 1994 he was Chair of the Medical Ethics committee.
Since 2009 he has been Secretary of the Rare Diseases Group. He is Patron of The Little Foundation, Honorary President of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, Vice President of Parkinson"s United Kingdom and Honorary Chairman of the United Kingdom Medical Students" Association (UKMSA).