Dame Clare Marx appointed GMC chair

DAME Clare Marx has been appointed chair of the General Medical Council and will become the first woman to hold that position since the GMC was established 160 years ago.

She will succeed Professor Sir Terence Stephenson in January 2019 and will stand down with immediate effect as chair of the independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide in medicine, which was commissioned by the GMC in February 2018.

The independent review working group will now be chaired by Leslie Hamilton, a cardiac surgeon working as a medical expert in clinical negligence cases and a specialist advisor at the Care Quality Commission.

Dame Clare joins a growing body of women leaders in healthcare and is the immediate past president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England – also the first woman in the history of the College to hold that role. She worked as an orthopaedic surgeon at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust for over 20 years before becoming associate medical director for appraisal and revalidation in 2013.

Dame Clare chaired the Trauma and Orthopaedic Specialist Advisory Committee for the Royal College of Surgeons when the new trauma and orthopaedic surgery curriculum was written and is also a past president of the British Orthopaedic Association.

GMC’s Chief Executive, Charlie Massey commented on the announcement: "I am delighted that Dame Clare has been appointed as the next chair. She joins the GMC at a critical time, where an ambitious programme of work is underway. I am confident that the wealth of experience she brings from her previous roles will be invaluable to seeing this work through successfully as the GMC continues its work to protect patients by maintaining and improving standards in medical practice.

"In particular Dame Clare will play a vital role in driving forward our new strategy, which shifts the emphasis of our work from acting when things have gone wrong to continued support for all doctors in the delivery of the highest standards of care.

"I would also like to thank Professor Sir Terence Stephenson, who has guided the GMC as chair for the last four years, not to mention his previous work as a member of Council."

Dame Clare said: "It is a great honour to be appointed as the next chair of the GMC. In the 70th year of the NHS and at a watershed moment for a profession under intense pressure, I look forward to leading GMC’s Council and working with health partners across the UK in protecting patients by supporting doctors.

"I have stepped down with immediate effect from leading the independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide in medicine before it makes any conclusions or recommendations for the GMC and other bodies. In this way the review will continue to be one which is truly independent."