Dame Clare will succeed Professor Sir Terence Stephenson as chair of the GMC in January 2019. She is the immediate past president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, where she was also the first woman to hold such a role.
Dame Clare will be stepping down as chair of the GMC-commissioned independent review of gross negligence manslaughter (GNM) and culpable homicide in medicine with immediate effect. The review was launched amidst the fall-out from the controversial case of junior paediatrician Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who was struck off earlier this year following a High Court appeal by the GMC. The new chair of the review will be GMC member and former cardiac surgeon Leslie Hamilton.
Dame Clare, a former orthopaedic surgeon who worked at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust for more than 20 years before becoming associate medical director for appraisal and revalidation in 2013, 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.’
'Wealth of experience'
A total of 28 applications were received for the role of chair. Appointments were managed by GatenbySanderson on behalf of the GMC, and each candidate appeared before a selection panel made up of two council members and three independent individuals. The panel’s recommendations were then submitted to the Privy Council for approval.
GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: ‘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.’
Leslie Hamilton, who takes over as lead of the GNM review - due to be published early next year - said: 'It is a big responsibility but a real privilege to be asked to lead the independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide in medicine.
‘I hope that my experience as a surgeon will stand me in good stead in leading this important work as the group embarks on engagement with doctors and other stakeholders across the UK.’
Written submissions to the GNM review are being accepted until 10 August via an online questionnaire. Click here to make a submission.