Ministerial role

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords)


The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords) leads on the following policy areas:

  • research, life sciences and NHS innovation
  • medicines pricing and regulation
  • data, digital and technology, including cyber security
  • global development and trade
  • rare diseases
  • income generation

Ministerial lead for:

  • NHS Business Services Authority
  • NHS Digital
  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
  • Health Research Authority

In addition, she represents the government on all aspects of health in the House of Lords.

Current role holder: Nicola Blackwood

Nicola Blackwood was appointed as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care on 10 January 2019.

She previously served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health from July 2016 until June 2017.

She was elected as the Conservative MP for Oxford West and Abingdon in May 2010.


Nicola was educated at Trinity College of Music, St Anne’s College, Oxford, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Political career

From June 2015 to July 2016, Nicola was Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee. Before the 2015 general election, Nicola was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Energy and Enterprise from 2013 to 2015 and a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee from 2010 to 2015. She was also previously Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2010 to 2013.

Before becoming an MP Nicola worked for Andrew Mitchell MP, then Shadow International Development Secretary.

Career outside politics

Nicola is a trustee of a special school academy and the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, and the patron of several charities.

Personal life

Nicola was born in Johannesburg in 1979, before being raised in Oxfordshire. She now splits her time between London and Oxfordshire, and lives with her husband, Paul, whom she married in 2016.

Previous holders of this role

  1. Lord O'Shaughnessy

    • 2016 to 2018
  2. Lord Prior of Brampton

    • 2015 to 2016


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  1. New guidance to help NHS patients benefit from digital technology

    • News story
  2. UK life sciences sector brings record growth as new Life Sciences Council meets for first time

    • Press release
  3. NHS prescription charges from 1 April 2018

    • Statement to Parliament
  4. Healthcare UK promotes digital innovation at Arab Health in Dubai

    • News story
  5. Industrial Strategy boost for UK medicines with £70 million of funding to help develop new treatments

    • Press release
  6. Join Healthcare UK at Arab Health 2018

    • News story
  7. Exporting NHS innovation at NHS Expo 2017

    • News story
  8. Lord O'Shaughnessy on medical technologies and Brexit

    • Speech
  9. Speech given by Lord O’Shaughnessy on Brexit and medicines regulation

    • Speech
  10. Making sure patients and the NHS benefit from medical innovation

    • Speech