Prof. Clare L. Marx is an orthopaedic surgeon from Woodbridge, U.K. She is immediate Past-President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) and was the first woman to hold this office. Additionally, she is the first woman to serve as president of the British Orthopaedic Association.
Professor Marx studied and completed her training at the University College London Medical School before accepting a fellowship in arthroplasty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA. Subsequently, she was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon at St. Mary’s and St. Charles Hospitals, London, before moving to Ipswich Hospital as the clinical director of the accident and emergency department and chairing the medical staff committee.
An advocate for elevating professionalism, the RCS under her leadership published Good Surgical Practice, examining outcomes of underperforming surgeons. She has emphasized the importance of aspects of surgical performance by building patients’ trust through compassionate communication. Professor Marx chairs the RCS Invited Review Mechanism, underscoring patient safety, as well as the trauma and orthopaedic specialist advisory committee, which developed a new curriculum for the specialty. She participates in numerous educational committees, including chairing the Specialty Appointment Committee for Orthopaedic Surgery, and served as orthopaedic advisor for the National Confidential Enquiry into Perioperative Deaths. In 2007, she received a Commander of the British Empire for services to medicine and was appointed deputy lieutenant of Suffolk county in 2008.
Troubled by low percentages of women entering surgery, she has changed the status quo by successfully breaking down barriers and creating pathways for others to follow. Through her mentorship, many women surgeons have achieved societal leadership positions.
Equally concerned with challenges in delivering quality training with reduced work hours, Professor Marx believes professionals need to continuously strive for improvements in the quality and care of their patients. During her presidency, the RCS issued an apology regarding junior physicians’ contract negotiations and perceptions that the RCS was unsupportive of trainees.