• Baroness Blackwood steps down as health minister for innovation
  • Announces it is time “to pursue new ventures”
  • DHSC says replacement will be announced “in due course”

Baroness Blackwood has stepped down from her role as health minister and the government’s health lead in the Lords.

Baroness Blackwood, whose portfolio included research, life sciences and innovation, announced her resignation on Twitter on Friday. She said that although she was “grateful to be offered [the] chance” to retain her role after last week’s government reshuffle, she was leaving to ”to pursue new ventures and perhaps even get a glimpse of my family”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said her replacement will be announced “in due course”.

Baroness Blackwood initially served as health minister for 11 months from July 2016 while she was Conservative MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, until she lost her seat in the 2017 general election.

However, she made a return to government 18 months later when she was given a life peerage in the House of Lords and returned to the health minister role in January 2019. She replaced Lord O’Shaughnessy, who stepped down in December 2018

Responding to the announcement on Twitter, NHS chief clinical information officer Simon Eccles said: “Whilst good news for the family, that’s sad news for us. It’s been a privilege working with you to support innovation and technology in health and care; and a real pleasure working with you personally.”

NHSX chief executive Matthew Gould added: “It’s been brilliant working with you. We will miss your leadership, insight and kindness. Thanks, you good luck with the next chapter, and please don’t leave the digital health scene.”

Matt Hancock kept his role as health secretary following last week’s reshuffle. Helen Whately joined DHSC as care minister, while Caroline Dinenage was moved to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Former management consultant Ms Whately had previously been arts minister in DCMS.