Death of former RCEM President Cliff Mann

Dr Clifford Mann OBE

It is with deep sorrow that the Royal College of Emergency Medicine announces the death of its former President, Dr Clifford Mann OBE.

Dr Mann died peacefully at home yesterday, with his wife Rhona, and two daughters by his side. He had been nursed 24/7 in the last few days by nurses from his own department.

RCEM President, Dr Katherine Henderson said: “Cliff has been an inspiration to so many in Emergency Medicine and beyond. During his Presidency of RCEM his charm and determination opened doors everywhere and pulled Emergency Medicine into the spotlight.

“He was a medical leader who was always looking for pragmatic solutions to even the most wicked problems, committed to driving positive change in patient care and staff experience. He mentored many of us and helped us translate concern into active engagement and action.

“He will be missed immensely by all of us that have worked with him over the years. Our thoughts are with his family and close colleagues in Taunton. The EM world has lost a powerful advocate and a true friend, the NHS has lost a talented leader whose energy and integrity was deeply valued.”

Dr Mann was a leading figure in Emergency Medicine, having been President of The Royal College of Emergency Medicine between 2013 and 2016, and formerly College Registrar between 2010 and 2013.

Dr Mann’s work helped shaped the specialty and after demitting as RCEM President he continued to work to improve care for patients in his roles at NHS England and NHS Improvement, where he was National Clinical Advisor for Urgent and Emergency Care.

Throughout his national work he continued to practice as a consultant in emergency medicine at the Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

He was appointed an Officer of the Order (OBE) in the 2018 New Year’s Honours list for services to Emergency Medicine.

Chief Executive of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Gordon Miles said: “Cliff was an exemplary College Registrar and President, I found him an eloquent, wise, and warm man, an inspirational and insightful leader, a pleasure to work with. I know he was highly respected by his professional colleagues and was also held in warm esteem by all of us who work at RCEM. He combined professionalism with geniality and will be missed immensely.

“A father of two, but a father figure to many others, Cliff worked tirelessly as RCEM President to improve patient care, College processes and the working lives of clinicians. He leaves behind a legacy of excellence.  

“He was rightly proud of his specialty and the work of his colleagues, and he had been deeply impressed by how Emergency Medicine and the NHS continued to respond to the pandemic.

“As well as among the specialty, he was immensely popular among College staff; taking the time to talk to everyone and charm us with his sense of humour. We were honoured to have had him as our President, and I am proud to be able to have called him a friend.

“A light has gone out in the specialty where the lights are always on, and we are immensely saddened by his tragic loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

Fellows, members, colleagues, family and friends are invited to share their memories as comments below.

50 thoughts on “Death of former RCEM President Cliff Mann

  1. Cliff was a legend within the specialty and an inspiration to so many of us. A true gentleman. Humble, humorous and such an eloquent speaker. Dedicated, full of energy and optimising, a superb spokesperson for us as a specialty over such a long period.
    Yet despite his amazing achievements he always put everyone at ease through his charming “normalness”.
    As Gordon says, he was a father figure to so many, even those of us who only met him a few times and are too old to have been his children!
    Genuine tears as I write this. A massive loss to us all, gone far too soon. Rest in peace, Cliff.

  2. Cliff was a giant amongst us, who had the capacity to make us all feel like friends. I first met him teaching in an APLS course near Leicester (I think Taj was course director). My first memory of Cliff was accompanying him in his Suzuki Cappucino (his tiny little 2 seater car) to Northampton (I think) to collect a spare roof panel for the car. He was such good company, and he lost none of his approachability when he became president.

    Always a good representative for our speciality, always a good clinician, and always a good friend. Gone too soon, and sorely missed. Love to Rhona and all the family.

    Dyfrig

  3. Cliff was an inspiration to me. I haven’t known him as long as many, but in the last 2 years working with him I have been inspired by his humour, drive and passion for emergency medicine. Most importantly I won’t forget the laughs we’ve had-nothing can beat the memory of the ‘wedding singer’ outside of Tommies when we were presenting during our regional day! It was even funnier when we discussed it over a glass of his favourite red afterwards!

    RIP Cliff – simply the best!

  4. I first met Cliff when I moved back on the UK from NZ, and not long afterwards he was offering us his place to stay in Devon when we were moving down from Bristol. That was just typical of him. Over the years he became a friend and mentor in different settings, and on a personal level he supported me generously on my path within RCEM. He was always the same … friendly, funny, erudite, and honest. He had time for everyone. He was a brilliant advocate for our specialty and a totally decent human being. Always a man whom I aspired to emulate. A devastating loss for his family, friends and colleagues. I will miss him. Goodbye and rest in peace Cliff. You have left the world a better place than it would have been without you.

  5. Met Cliff a number of times first as a trainee and then as Consultant. Such fond memories, always so humble and friendly, fantastically smart, clearly so hardworking, has really done so much for EM – raising the profile, and taking the collective concerns to the highest level. Really deserves every accolade.

    Heartfelt condolences to all of his family and those closest to him, from all of us in Oxford.

  6. I first met cliff when he was a ED reg at QAH Portsmouth in the 1990 ‘s . I was a staff nurse.He was always good fun and a great man I then became a ENP at musgrove park hospital in Taunton. Cliff was working there and was now a consultant. He had pure class ,amazing knowledge, a big heart and a great laugh.He always had time for his family ,patients and his team. Will miss you big man and thank you ,sian x

  7. My family and I only knew Cliff, Rhona and his two beautiful daughters through school, yet the warmth that they all showed made us feel like we had been friends for years. Cliff always had time to stop and speak if we saw him in the street.
    To say my family is heartbroken is an understatement and our love goes out to Rhona and the girls. Such a sad loss and the world is poorer for losing people like Cliff, true gentleman and inspiration. Xx

  8. Such a devastating loss.
    Rest in Peace.
    Had opportunity to have conversation with him.
    Legendary & Visionary Leader.

  9. Cliff was a gentleman who had the ability to convey in common sense words solutions to some of our most difficult problems. Always generous and kind he will be sadly missed but fondly remembered.

    • One memory of Cliff

      During his RCEM presidency Cliff came to Birmingham to speak to a regional EM conference we had organized. (He showed up to every single event we asked him to, he absolutely loved to meet his colleagues all around the UK and Ireland and listen to what they had to say). Anyway, he was due to arrive around lunchtime as he had been at a very important meeting in London in the morning, probably at Whitehall. We had left instructions with the team on reception that he was arriving, and moreover was a rather important person. When he did arrive, the two lovely reception staff had taken five minutes for a cup of tea and left a medical student in temporary charge of the desk. When Cliff arrived, and proffered his name, the medical student responded with “Oh yes, you’re the bloke from the College!” My fellow organisers and I were mortified when he regaled us all with the story in his speech, but of course Cliff found it hugely amusing and entirely apposite. A man of great intellect, integrity and charisma, tempered with modesty, kindness and a fabulous sense of humour. It was one of the highlights of my career to serve under his presidency and I am so sad today to know that we have lost far too soon “the bloke from the College”. Rest in peace, Cliff.

  10. Cliff presented me with my MCEM certificate, my family didn’t manage to photograph the occasion. Cliff happily obliged later during the drinks reception, despite being very much in demand. Then at subsequent RCEM/fassgem events he remembered me, was just as generous with his time, his enthusiasm & with bringing everyone up to his level & sharing his love of EM & how it can be done better.
    He is a huge loss to EM & I can only guess as to the magnitude of loss to Taunton & his family. I am so so sorry.

  11. I met Cliff whilst working at the Royal College of Physicians. I came to look forward to meetings, projects and events that I knew Cliff would be part of. He always took the time to chat – not just to the medical bigwigs, but to the staff team too. As well as being a fantastic ambassador for emergency medicine, he was warm, funny, curious and – above all – kind. He will be greatly missed by his specialty and all who knew him. Condolences to his family and friends.

  12. This amazing man saved my father life after being run over by a tractor at 80 years old… he would never have lived without the skills and ingenuity if this incredible surgeon. We will be forever grateful for the extra years we had with my dad. I am so sad to see this news, much love goes out to this true hero’s friends and family.

  13. Cliff was an inspirational and realistic speaker, a gentleman and always tried to influence others to see that emergency care teams would always do their best but needed others to help. Great at getting data to teach people that and just being a good team player that ED folk do best. He will not be forgotten for his great leadership.

  14. Cliff was one of those rare people who had immense charisma that was backed by expertise, work ethic and values. I left every conversation with him having laughed about an anecdote or turn of phrase and having learned something new about emergency care and national policy making. But I think the thing that struck me most about him was his humility. He was an incredibly important man in national policy, who somehow managed to make his team and colleagues feel like they were important too. As a professional, as a leader and as a man – he will be incredibly missed. Rest in peace Cliff.

  15. He was such an inspiration- his enthusiasm and belief in EM as a specialty and all of us will be an enduring legacy. A great loss for everyone, rest in peace.

  16. RIP Mate, you are a true legend in my eyes. I remember many a time we would chuckle in the corner during Deanery meetings

    • I was lucky enough to start medical school at Charing Cross Hospital on the same day as Cliff Mann, we did finals together, we were houseman together on the same firm and we have been friends ever since. You could not find a better person to work with. Cliff was a truly excellent doctor, dedicated, enthusiastic, extremely hard working and key to it all, supportive and so much fun to be around. He was always the same and our dinners together when he travelled up to London were full of laughs and took me back 30 years and I will miss them very much. He was so proud of his EM work and the College and rightly so. The wonderful tributes from his colleagues are testament to that and to his extraordinary hard work to optimise EM departments for staff and patients alike. We have lost him far too soon but his legacy remains and we will never forget.

      • I agree. He hadn’t changed a bit since our first day at medical school. We’d arranged to go for a drink at the end of the summer which didn’t happen because of the current restrictions and now sadly never will. One of the good guys and a sad loss.

      • I too have very fond memories of Cliff in our first years at Charing Cross. Just a warm and lovely guy with a great sense of humour, loved by everyone. Despite losing touch over the years, I was always hugely proud of my former classmate when he appeared on TV to discuss various EM crises. Deepest condolences to his family and friends.

  17. I met Cliff in the mid nineties at Derriford Hospital, he was the sage senior registrar and I was the green SHO…I learnt a lot from him in the department and we had much fun in the bars of Plymouth and environs. He came to my wedding, we went along different paths (high flyer Cliff, country GP Graham) kept in touch on and off over the past 20 years, but I guess I always thought there would be time to catch up properly again one day. So sorry that won’t happen now. My thoughts are with his family, a huge loss to the NHS but of course the biggest loss to them. Carpe diem.

  18. Cliff gave me tremendous support during my diverse career and move to emergency medicine. He was a great leader and innovator and supported radical solutions to urgent and emergency care services throughout the country
    but he was also keen to learn and implement good ideas from the emergency medicine world in other countries

  19. I knew Cliff many years ago teaching together on PALS courses in Wessex. For reasons that are lost in time he was always known as “Agent Mann” and my main recollection is of tremendous and almost continuous laughter.
    I recall one trauma scenario when we were all surprised to see a resuscitation mannekin flying past the window from an upstairs room and the candidates being called upon to resuscitate it (things were a little less structured in those days).

    My condolences to his family.

  20. Cliff Mann was one of those rare individuals that you are privileged to have known. His kindness, integrity, and sheer professionalism just stood out in everything he did. I first got to know Cliff when I became Chair of the College’s Lay Group; from day one he made it clear that he was committed to ensuring that the involvement of Lay Members would be integral to all of the College’s activities. His support, advice, and above all, commitment to lay and patient groups was never in doubt. He always had time to listen to the Lay/patient view and to ensure that others listened too. Cliff was excellent company to be with, he will be sorely missed.

  21. What a privilege to have known Cliff!
    When he gave up GP for EM I could not believe our luck. Every speciality he had worked in wanted him!
    I echo what others have said – skill, dedication, wisdom, leadership, hard work he excelled in them all. Always approachable, always with humour, always human.
    EM have lost a giant who has given us so much – we all feel deprived of what there surely would have been to come.
    To his department our condolences their loss is huge. He was loved -why else would his nurses share in his terminal care at home?
    Our love and thoughts are with Rhona and the girls in their inexpressable loss.

  22. Cliff was Senior Registrar with us in Derriford, and his intelligence, charm, wit, and exceptional clinical skills will always be remembered. He was also a good personal friend and neighbour for several years. Lots of happy memories of Cliff. Unfolding himself from his tiny car, riding our horses, enjoying a visit to the local. He will be sadly missed. Thoughts are with Rhona and the girls.

  23. Cliff became College Registrar in 2010 and he was a delight to work for – fair, considerate, forward thinking, charming and erudite. He became President in 2013 and it was an honour and a privilege to be in his firmament. I have such fond memories too, of discussing with Cliff (in his role as College Sommelier) what wines we would have at the various dinners we held in his time as a College officer. He has left a gaping hole in the specialty and will be much missed.

  24. I felt so sad when reading the news of the passing away of Cliff.
    Meeting with Cliff at several occasions and discussing with him about emergency Medicine was always inspiring! His vision on Emergency Medicine is an example for all of us.
    Cliff was such a great human being passionate for his specialty and for his patients.
    My thoughts are with his family.
    Rest in Peace professor Mann!

  25. Cliff was a warm, affable and erudite force that brought the cause of EM to the forefront of British politics. He was also, above all, a good person.

    I was nervous to first meet him as a registrar in Taunton, but when I did I was made to feel more at ease, as he was performing an operation that was familiar to me – leaning into a sharps bin, forceps in hand, trying to retrieve something he’d accidentally dropped inside.

    This snapshot set a theme, despite his fame and political importance, he remained approachable, relatable and charmingly mate-ish. When he had large national responsibilities within NHS improvements, he took the time to take me out for a coffee and sort a difficulty I had.

    I will always look up to him as the father of our speciality and the standard to follow. My thoughts to Rhonda and his daughters.

    Thank you Cliff,

    Jamie

  26. Cliff was the ED consultant who with his team at Taunton, showed me in my first consultant job how you could get thrombolysis in place for stroke patients even when stroke physicians were in poor supply. He was full of advice for me as a new consultant and provided lots of support. Very sad to hear the news today on the RCP bulletin and my thoughts are with Taunton ED and his family.

  27. Such sad news and my condolences to his family. Now nearing the end of a surgical career, I find sadly that colleagues inevitably pass away. Some I note just with sadness, but news of the demise of a few stops me in my tracks because of the memories that they left with me. Cliff was one of those few. I knew him when I was a VP at the RCS, and have very fond memories of him both in committees and socially. He left a lasting impression of the very best sort. He was always attentive to what others had to say, he had excellent chairing skills, and being in the same room was always a pleasure. I remember particularly Cliff announcing at a dinner in his typically understated way that the CEM was to become RCEM, no doubt an accolade in which he was surely a prime mover, but without any personal claim for credit. A gentleman and a true leader. RIP.

  28. So shocked to hear the death of one of the legend in EM field. Indeed a big loss to Emergency Medicine in UK. Prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends.

  29. So sorry to hear of the passing of Dr Cliff Mann. He was such an inspiration to me as an emergency physician, as he was to many. Such a brilliant leader and a lovely, down-to-earth man. He will be very sadly missed but the brilliant work he has done for our profession will be remembered for many years to come.
    My thoughts are with his friends and family at this very sad time. May he rest in peace.

  30. I worked with Cliff at the college during his presidency. If I was to write a book about leadership, I’d just write a bio on Cliff, he was simply the best leader I’ve ever known – and one of the finest human beings you could wish to meet. My memories of working with him conjure up images of broad smiles, easy laughter and a feeling that with Cliff at the helm everything would turn out well. It’s heartbreaking to hear of his loss and my thoughts go out to his family, colleagues and to the specialty. At the same time it is heartwarming to read the stories and comments here and see how much he meant to all of us. I imagine that somewhere, Cliff is making an angel laugh and feel more at ease. We won’t forget you Cliff, and thank you for blessing us with your many talents.

  31. Cliff epitomised what an EM Doctor should be – patient care was what drove him and he was inately skilled to be able to walk in different corridors,talk to everyone and treat all as he would wish to be treated !!
    I remember the Paxman Interview with some pride as an EM Doctor, as at the end I was left in no doubt that Paxman was left with a significant degree of respect having gone “toe to toe”
    Rest peacefully Cliff

  32. I feel privileged to have met Cliff in medical school days and many times since at courses and conferences. He gave sage advice that shaped my subsequent career. Ever witty and self-deprecating, he always seemed to have limitless time to listen, give advice and share some more anecdotes. His talks at conferences were always insightful, educational and entertaining (even when the AV failed as it it did in Manchester during his Presidential address!) A consummate professional, champion of Emergency Medicine, inspirational leader and a wonderful man. Condolences to his family and many friends.

  33. I am so sorry to hear such sad news about Cliff. I had the privilege of working with him when I was a member of staff and he was the Registrar and President of the college. I enjoyed his quick wit, his thoroughness in approving membership applications and the fun we had in designing a Presidential tie – such serious work! However, one of the greatest attributes he had was the ability to speak authoritatively, passionately and with humanity about Emergency Medicine to the benefit of both doctors and patients. He will be sorely missed and he will always be fondly remembered by me and no doubt for staff in RCEM. Rest in Peace Cliff, I am so grateful for knowing you.

    • This is such sad news. Apart from being an EM Leader in the truest sense, Cliff was a tremendous support to Duncan Carmichael and me in our careers work. As president and past-president he repeatedly made time to inspire, amuse and delight the next generation of EM clinicians, by talking at our careers days, often in between Whitehall appointments. His magic was not lost on them.
      Duncan and I share a happy memory of a day spent with Cliff exploring the vineyards of South Africa, whilst at ICEM in 2016, which included a trip to a penguin colony on the way home. It was a privilege for us to spend time with him and we will be forever grateful for his support. My thoughts go out to Cliff’s family, friends and colleagues. We are all much better for having known you.

  34. What dreadfully sad news. Cliff came to Adelaide, South Australia, in the early 1990s to work in the Emergency Department of the Flinders Medical Centre. I was Director of the Emergency Department at that time.
    He was a complete joy to be with and to work with. He was outgoing, cheerful, skilled, highly capable and we all felt privileged to be able to have him with us.
    His has gone on to have a stellar career and those traits we saw in him almost 30 years ago have clearly been evident throughout his life, My condolences go not only to his wife and daughters, but to the whole emergency medicine community in the UK.
    Chris Baggoley

  35. Very sad to learn of Cliff’s death – he leaves an enormous void which will be very difficult to fill. He was a great leader and a grassroots ED clinician at heart, and I will miss his wise counsel and advice very much. My sincere condolences to all of Cliff’s family, colleagues and friends.

  36. I only had the privilege of meeting Dr Clifford Mann at my MRCEM graduation but it left a lasting impact. What he has done for our specialty combined with his openness, his approachability and his kind nature will always be remembered. I remember how he took the time to really speak kind words to me and to have words with my grandparents also. Even they speak very highly of him years after that short interaction. He is a true champion of change and passion for our speciality and we will be forever grateful and know that his actions have left a legacy.
    Sad to lose you Clifford but may you rest in peace.

  37. This is devastating news for our speciality of Emergency Medicine; Dr Cliff Mann will leave a legacy of work that has improved the care of patients in emergency units and by default also the staff that work in them. My sincerest condolences to those that knew him well and will be more deeply effected by his loss and of course not least his family. Sadly I only had a few opportunities to engage with him more directly but I remember one of these occasions clearly – I had managed to turn up for my critical appraisal exam without a pen and without hesitation he reached in his jacket pocket and loaned me he rather expensive one! – Thank you for that! You will be fondly remembered.

  38. Cliff and I started our three year GP training scheme together in Taunton in 1987. One of our proudest moments was being made honorary midwives by the senior midwifery team – a rare accolade but truly fitting of someone who related to people at all levels with ease. His wit was legendary, somehow making ordinary events hugely amusing often at his own expense. He was wise yet humble – true leadership qualities which he clearly used to extraordinary effect in his very full career. I feel very sad today but will strive to remember those moments of pure joy that I spent in his company. My sincere condolences to Rhonda, and his daughters, to the Taunton ED and the wider community.

  39. The groundswell of sadness from Cliff’s passing will reach wide and far – such was the impact on those he met. In his early years as an A&E registrar in Portsmouth (having initially completed GP training as I recall) he guided us as juniors with great enthusiasm, humility and humour. His mantra of maintaining a safe and simple approach to care has remained with me throughout my career. When Cliff was on the shop floor there was a distinct calmness and a palpable sense of ease amongst all staff. I have only ever seen him out of his comfort zone when wearing a pair of skis! He will be greatly missed and his legacy
    will continue to have a positive influence on many.

  40. Very sorry to hear this tragic news.
    It has been a privilege, honour and pleasure working with Cliff on the various RCEM committees and the board.
    He will be dearly missed by everyone who knew him- I will always remember his outgoing nature, cheerfulness, positivity, humility and humanity.
    He was a voice of sense and a great leader of the specialty working tirelessly to improve the Emergency care of the patients that we all serve.
    My thoughts and prayers are with the family.
    Rest peacefully Cliff.

  41. I first got to know Cliff when we worked together in Taunton as junior doctors. Though Cliff was on the GP Training Scheme, he still managed to sit and pass the MRCP exam, and I have happy memories of a trip on the sleeper train from Taunton to Edinburgh to sit the clinical exam. We also met up when we were both working in New Zealand in 1991, and kept in touch since – he came to stay with us once when he attended a meeting in Manchester, and he was always such great company. With his talents it was no surprise to see him become president of the RCEM, and to see what a great public profile he had, and what a great advocate he was for the speciality. I am so very, very sorry to hear of his death, and his family are in my thoughts.

  42. Cliff’s death has left a huge hole in our EM family & we have lost one of our finest. Many of us will have been lucky enough to have know him or crossed paths with him over the years & for those who didn’t, their work will no doubt have been influenced by his steer from either his work at the college or in Whitehall. I fondly remember his talks at the RSM – he’s still the only person I’ve ever come across who could make the NICE AF guidelines sound simple!
    Cliff was such a warm, eloquent, witty & humble man, a talented doctor & an incredible spokesman for our speciality. Sending heartfelt condolences to all those who were closest to him.

  43. I am very sad to hear of Cliff’s death. He was always interesting to listen to and interested in what you had to say – a less easy skill than it sounds. He had a very keen grasp of medical politics and knew how to twist the politicians around his little finger. He did a lot of good for our specialty quietly, and was a great ambassador for us. Physically imposing, he was the gentlest giant. Condolences to Rhonda and his family. RIP, Cliff.

  44. I like so many was saddened by Cliff’s death. I met him inTaunton when we were both doing our first ATLS course in approximately 1992. I was a GP and he encouraged me to do ALS and later PALS courses and we used to teach together on various courses in the Southwest He was forthright and yet humorous and inspired me to expand my interest in Emergency Medicine . I extend my deepest sympathy to his family and colleagues.RIP

  45. Cliff was a jewel at RCEM – wont be another one. Looming gentleman – polite, affable, understood the issues quickly – admirable powers of analysis and strategy.

    Privilege of sitting at RCEM council with him.

    His powerful ISR report on Guernsey ED resulted in creating the first EM consultant post – brought me here.

    See you in another life Cliff. Wont Forget.

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