Dr John Henry Marks

(Born London 1925; Died London 2022)

Dr John Marks (General Practitioner, Borehamwood, 1954-90; Chairman, British Medical Association 1984-90) died on 20th September. An obituary, which included many memorable quotes from John, appeared in the Times on 28th September 2022.

Both John and his wife Dr Shirley Marks were regular and loyal participants in Jewish Medical Association UK activities – including in recent years several of the online webinars. In February 2022 John gave a memorable talk himself, with technical support from his son Dr Richard Marks. At the time we summarised his career as follows:

Dr John Marks qualified in medicine in Edinburgh on 5th July 1948 – the day that the NHS was established. He is one of the few surviving doctors from that era. His six-year term of office as BMA Chair was unique. He led a campaign against BMA Council’s decision to recommend an annual registration fee to the GMC without prior reform of its constitution and led the profession’s opposition to the internal market. He played a major role in defending the 1967 Abortion Act. He also led campaigns in favour of restricting corporal punishment, about wearing seatbelts; and about respecting confidentiality of people with AIDS. Alongside his major public roles, he has been active in Jewish affairs: he was one of the 35 people who founded the Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue, and was its first Honorary Treasurer – this is now the largest Jewish community in the UK. His autobiography “The NHS: Beginning, Middle and End?” was published in 2008. He is married to Dr Shirley Marks, who also worked as a General Practitioner, and their son Dr Richard Marks is an anaesthetist.

A fuller obituary will appear on the Association website shortly but in the meantime you can watch a recording of the February 2022 event here.

The Association has expressed condolences to Shirley and her family on their bereavement.