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Head of medical manslaughter review appointed new GMC chair

Dame Clare Marx has been appointed the next chair of the GMC to replace Professor Sir Terence Stephenson in January 2019.

As the first female chair of the GMC, the appointment will see Dame Clare step down from her current position as chair of the independent review of gross negligence manslaughter, effective immediately.

Dame Clare was previously the first woman to be president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

She has also worked as an orthopaedic surgeon at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust for over 20 years before becoming associate medical director for appraisal and revalidation at the trust in 2013.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said Dame Clare brings a ‘wealth of experience’ to the role of GMC chair that ‘will be invaluable … as the GMC continues its work to protect patients by maintaining and improving standards in medical practice’.

Leslie Hamilton, a former cardiac surgeon and current member of the medical manslaughter review, will take over as chair.

Mr Hamilton spent 16 years as a consultant paediatric surgeon and now works as a medical expert in clinical negligence cases and a specialist advisor at the CQC.

The review, which launched in February 2018, is investigating why there are fewer GNM cases involving healthcare organisations compared with individuals.

Dame Clare said it was a ‘great honour’ to be appointed as chair during ‘a watershed moment for a profession under intense pressure’. 

She said: ‘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.’

Mr Hamilton said his new role ‘is a big responsibility but a real privilege’, adding that he hopes his ‘experience as a surgeon will stand me in good stead in leading this important work’.