Tributes have been paid to Dame Clare Marx, the former chair of the GMC and RCS (Royal College of Surgeons), who has been described as ‘a role model and inspiration’ who leaves a ‘profound legacy’.
Dame Clare, who died on Sunday aged 68, was chair of GMC council from the start of 2019 until July 2021 when she stepped down following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. She was the first woman to hold the post since the GMC was established in 1858.
She was president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, from 2014 to 2017, and received an honorary fellowship to the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2017.
Dame Clare was also the first woman president in the history of the British Orthopaedic Association, from 2008 to 2009, and was chair of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management until 2018.
Dame Clare studied medicine at University College London before specialising in trauma and orthopaedic surgery. During her career, she held consultant and leadership roles at St Charles and St Mary’s Paddington, and at Ipswich Hospital.
She received her damehood for services to surgery in the NHS in the 2018 New Year Honours.
The BMA paid tribute. In a statement, the BMA said: ‘We are very sorry to learn that former RCS England president, Dame Clare Marx, has passed away.
‘She was a role model and inspiration to so many: our deepest condolences are with her family and friends at this time.’
Dame Carrie MacEwen, current chair of the GMC, said: ‘Clare was a true leader who carved a path for so many, and never lost sight of why we as doctors are called to medicine. I was fortunate to count her as a friend and privileged to follow her as chair of the GMC.
‘As chair of the GMC’s council, Clare set a clear direction for a model of compassionate professional regulation that I am committed to fulfilling. My thoughts are with all of her family and friends.’
Charlie Massey, chief executive and registrar of the GMC added: ‘Dame Clare Marx leaves a profound legacy right across the medical profession and wider health services. She was a tireless advocate for the leadership required to bring about change in the health service, and for all working in medicine to treat each other – and themselves – with kindness and compassion.
‘Her own leadership, wisdom and kindness touched so many who work for the GMC, and her loss will be felt just as strongly.’
The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management paid tribute to Dame Clare in a statement. It said: ‘Those of us privileged to know her well remember a thoughtful, sensitive, assertive, decisive and wise colleague who achieved so much in a stellar career.’