Hospital boss pays tribute to 'brilliant and modest' surgeon after cancer fight

Tributes - Colchester Hospital's chief executive Nick Hulme paid tribute to Dame Clare Marx <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Tributes - Colchester Hospital's chief executive Nick Hulme paid tribute to Dame Clare Marx (Image: Newsquest)

TRIBUTES have been paid to a leading surgeon who had a new Colchester Hospital care centre named in her honour.

Dame Clare Marx, who has died aged 68 following a struggle with pancreatic cancer, shares her name with Colchester’s elective care centre.

Building work on the £34 million orthopaedic care centre, which will reduce waiting times in north Essex, began in May.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Dame Clare was a caring and compassionate doctor to all her patients.

“We are deeply grateful for her friendship and all she achieved for medicine worldwide and within the NHS.

Gazette: Delight - Dr Shane Gordon, director of strategy, research and innovation, Mr Mark Bowditch, divisional clinical director and orthopaedic surgeon, Dame Clare Marx, Nick Hulme, CEO of ESNEFT, and Mr Mark Loeffler, consultant orthopaedic surgeon
Gazette: Delight - Dr Shane Gordon, director of strategy, research and innovation, Mr Mark Bowditch, divisional clinical director and orthopaedic surgeon, Dame Clare Marx, Nick Hulme, CEO of ESNEFT, and Mr Mark Loeffler, consultant orthopaedic surgeon

Delight - Dr Shane Gordon, director of strategy, research and innovation, Mr Mark Bowditch, divisional clinical director and orthopaedic surgeon, Dame Clare Marx, Nick Hulme, CEO of ESNEFT, and Mr Mark Loeffler, consultant orthopaedic surgeon (Image: Newsquest)

"We were delighted when she accepted the invitation for the name of our new elective care centre at Colchester Hospital to be named in her honour - The Dame Clare Marx Building - and that she was able to be with us at the start of building work.

"We will be able to carry on her inspirational work in this pioneering new centre.

"Dame Clare was a wonderful friend to so many and her friendship was a privilege.

“She was brilliant, modest and an immensely kind clinician, mentor and friend with a mischievous sense of fun."

Dame Clare was the first woman to hold the role of president of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, taking up the position in July 2014.

Five years later, she became the first woman to become chair of the General Medical Council (GMC).

In 2021 she announced her resignation from the GMC after she was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer.

In a public letter, she said: “Since receiving this news, I've been reminded once again of the importance and power of kindness in everything we do as doctors.”

The Dame Clare Marx Building will boast 72 inpatient beds and six operating theatres. It is expected to open in 2024.

Speaking after she dug up the first spade-full of earth at the site in May, Dame Clare said: “This new centre will make a tremendous difference to patients on waiting lists and greatly improve the lives of local people living with pain.

“I’m honoured to give my name to this building which will advance the work to which I have dedicated my career.”

The centre, which could treat 13 patients a day, will boast two wards and enough space to expand even further over the next 20 years.

It will cater for patients from across Suffolk and north Essex and will also reduce the risk of operations being cancelled because of emergency cases.