A former MP has been appointed a Lord and made the minister responsible for innovation and technology in the health sector.
Nicola Blackwood, who served as a Conservative MP for Oxford West and Abingdon from 2010 until 2017, was named as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care on 10 January.
Her responsibilities will include ‘life sciences policy and industry engagement, industrial strategy and NHS innovation’ as well as ‘data, digital and technology, including cyber security’ in the healthcare sector.
Blackwood previously served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the then-called Department of Health from July 2016 until June 2017.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced the news on Twitter saying he was ‘delighted’.
He added: “A fantastic champion of health innovation, bringing a wealth experience to the post. Congrats Nicola!”
Blackwood replaces James O’Shaughnessy, who announced he was stepping down from the role in December 2018 due to ‘family circumstances’.
During his time as Parliamentary Under Secretary for Health, O’Shaughnessy oversaw a number of projects.
This included the publication of a code of conduct for AI and data-driven healthcare tech in September 2018.