Miss Clare Marx
President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England Miss Clare Marx is President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the first female to hold the position in the College’s 217-year history. However, for Clare this is not the legacy she wishes to leave; rather it is that she is a doctor and a surgeon who just happens to be female. Clare has worked as an Orthopaedic Surgeon at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust for over 20 years.
Clare did not come from a medical family but was fascinated by medicine and science from the age of five years when she was taken to the Accident and Emergency department. Unlike other children there who were either sitting still or crying, Clare was already doing the rounds by asking people in the waiting room about their medical conditions. Originally keen on doing engineering she instead opted for medicine. She always wanted to spend her life making a difference – something she has been doing ever since. After qualifying from University College London Medical School in 1977, Clare did her house jobs in London. Inspired by one of the surgeons she worked for, she decided to pursue a career in surgery, and specifically orthopaedics. After a series of training jobs in London, she completed an arthroplasty fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, USA in 1987. Her first Consultant appointment in Orthopaedics was at St. Mary’s Hospital in London and three years later she moved to Ipswich Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in a move precipitated by her marriage in 1989. She has subsequently worked at this Trust for over twenty years. A few years later, Clare became Clinical Director of the Combined Accident & Emergency, Trauma and Orthopaedics, and Rheumatology Directorate. Her leadership roles continued at Ipswich Hospital where Clare chaired the Local Negotiating Committee, the Medical Staff Committee and was heavily involved in many of the hospital’s governance projects. She was Chair of the Trauma and Orthopaedics SAC for two years. Ten years ago Clare’s parents moved to Suffolk to live with Clare and her husband, and although her mother sadly died in 2016, Clare’s father at 94 years continues to provide humour, challenge and a constant source of stories of social and medical care experiences. Her day begins as it ends with her personal trainers – walking a series of working Labrador Retrievers. Clare was awarded a CBE for services to medicine in 2007, and in 2008 she was made a Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Suffolk. She became President of the British Orthopaedic Association from 2008-9, the first female to take on this role, and was elected to the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) of England in 2009. She Chaired the RCS Invited Review Mechanism in 2011 and two years later became Associate Medical Director at Ipswich Hospital, with a special remit for revalidation and appraisal.
Clare was elected President of the RCS in 2014, having stopped active orthopaedic practice in March that year. Has the maledominated college changed with this amiable and tenacious woman at the helm? The President’s office certainly has. Instead of framed pictures of male surgeons, many of whom are no longer alive, her office is adorned with large photos of inspirational women surgeons, much like Clare, who are alive and well. * Favourite Colour: Blue
Clare’s advice to junior doctors is “Celebrate and remember the moments of joy in your careers, remember the amazing patients you meet, and look for and feel the pleasure of learning, caring and having fun.”
Published on Apr 26, 2017
The magazine for the Medical Women’s Federation (MWF), the largest and most influential body of women doctors in the UK which aims to promot...