Meet Our National Operations Manager for the UK, Claire Smith 

Icon Writers / 11 Feb, 2024

We’re pleased to introduce Claire Smith as our National Operations Manager in the United Kingdom. 

Following our recent partnership with Nuffield Health – the UK’s largest healthcare charity – Claire’s appointment marks a significant step in Icon Group’s expansion and commitment to providing exceptional cancer care. 

Claire’s journey in healthcare is a fusion of passion and purpose. Originally contemplating a career in music, her strong science background and innate drive to contribute to better health outcomes, led her to the field of radiation therapy. Here, her fascination with the blend of science, technology, and patient interaction laid the foundation for a remarkable career.

One of Claire’s early roles saw her accept an opportunity to establish a standalone radiation therapy centre in rural Australia. Witnessing its impact on regional patients who previously had to drive for nearly four hours to receive treatment, had a profound effect on Claire. 

“The first patient we treated at the centre was a wonderful lady who needed radiation therapy after having surgery and chemo for breast cancer,” Claire explained. 

“She was a single working mum of two young daughters. She had her treatment during the school holidays and her girls came in with her each day. We all got to know the whole family and her youngest had the same name and birthday as me!  

“She shared that without the centre, she would have faced a difficult decision between her health and supporting her family, likely opting to skip vital treatment to reduce cancer recurrence.”

Claire noted that while establishing regional cancer centres is difficult, the rewards are immense – for patients and communities. “There are so many challenges including recruitment of experienced staff and ensuring access to mechanical support for the equipment. But, knowing that people truly benefit, and enabling patients to have treatment close to home is just so worth the effort it takes to overcome these challenges.” 

Claire’s international experience, particularly in pioneering Australia’s first radiation oncology service in China, further honed her skills in overcoming language barriers and adapting to different cultural contexts to deliver clinical benefits.  

“In China, I learnt how to step back and evaluate a situation based on context, and this lesson serves me now too. For example, you couldn’t just copy and paste what is done in one country and expect it to work elsewhere, like China. I became aware that I had to step away from what I thought I ‘knew’ and consider other ways to achieve the best outcomes for patients.” 

As the National Operations Manager for the UK, Claire’s vision is clear: to bring world-class treatment options closer to patients, irrespective of their location.  

“Having worked in the UK earlier in my career and seeing the challenges that cancer care is currently facing here, I know that Icon and Nuffield Health can make an impact and help to turn the dial for patients in the UK.”

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