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Observations BMJ Confidential

Celia Ingham Clark: Enthusiastic, determined, organised

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 11 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h677


Celia Ingham Clark is the NHS England director for reducing premature mortality. She qualified at Cambridge and the Middlesex universities, then trained as a general surgeon and was a consultant and medical director at the Whittington Hospital in north London. Her interest in health policy began as a member of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee in the 1980s, and her focus is on improving the quality of patient care. In 2013 she was awarded an MBE for services to the NHS.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be an astronaut, until I realised that I had been born at least 50 years too early for this to be realistic.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My father, Ken Parsons, who was a rural GP who showed me the difference good doctors can make to their patients’ lives; and Richard Wood, who supervised my surgical research and taught me to keep asking questions and how to speak to an audience with confidence. Sadly, neither of them is still with us.

What was the worst mistake in your career?

Applying for something that I thought was a general …

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