Leslie Turnberg, Baron Turnberg

Official parliamentary portrait

Leslie Arnold Turnberg, Baron Turnberg FRCP FMedSci (born 22 March 1934) is a British medical professional and an author of many publications and books related to the medical and health services fields. His experience extends to areas of research in these fields, and maintaining a clinical practice. He has published four books and some 150 articles on medical and scientific research.

in 2000, he was made a life peer. He resigned from the Labour group in July 2019 over the party's approach to Brexit and handling of allegations of antisemitism.

Early life and trainingEdit

Turnberg was born in Manchester to Hyman Turnberg (of Romanian-Jewish origin) and his wife Dolly (born in Manchester to Polish-Jewish parents).[1] He studied medicine at Manchester University from 1952 to 1957, and completed his house posts in North Manchester hospitals, and trained at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and later in London at the Whittington Hospital and University College Hospital.[1] He developed a specialist interest in gastroenterology, lecturing at the Royal Free Hospital at the liver unit developed by Sheila Sherlock.[1] He married in 1967 and spent a year in Dallas, Texas on a research fellowship with John S. Fordtran [de], before returning to Manchester as a lecturer in gastroenterology starting 1969.[1] He would remain consultant gastroenterologist in Salford until 1997.[2]

Medical careerEdit

Professor and deanEdit

In 1973 Turnberg was appointed professor of medicine at Hope Hospital (now Salford Royal) in Salford, where he developed the site as a teaching hospital by expanding academic interests. Turnberg made contributions to the understanding of the absorption of electrolytes in the small bowel, gastric secretions, and other areas of gastroenterology.[1]

In 1983 the role of Dean of University of Manchester medical school rotated to Hope, and as senior professor there Turnberg assumed the position. He was involved with selection and during the three years as dean developed a new curriculum that pioneered problem-based learning.[1]

President of the RCPEdit

In 1992, on the resignation of Margaret Turner-Warwick as President of the Royal College of Physicians of London, Turnberg was elected as her successor. During his presidency, he improved the involvement of patients in the College's activities, expanded the College's premises in Regent's Park, and opened regional offices. His presidency saw the splitting off of the paediatricians and the formation of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the formation of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (initially the Conference of Colleges), the establishment of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the formation of bodies coordinating medical ethics and postgraduate medical training.[1] He remained in position until 1997, when he was succeeded by George Alberti.[1]

Medical positionsEdit

Turnberg holds honorary fellowships from sixteen different UK and overseas colleges and has held many different positions within the medical field.[3] His other appointments included President of the Medical Protection Society from 1997 to 2007, Chairman of the Board of the Public Health Laboratory Service from 1997 to 2005, President of the Medical Council on Alcoholism from 2000 to 2005, Chair of the UK Forum for Genetics and Insurance from 1998 to 2002.[1] His current appointments include scientific adviser to the Association of Medical Research Charities; trustee of the Wolfson Foundation, trustee of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation,[4] He is fellow and former Vice President of the Academy of Medical Sciences.[2]

Use of animals in researchEdit

In May 2004, the UK Government announced that it was establishing a national centre for "best practice" in animal testing called "The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research". The board of the new centre was chaired by Lord Turnberg from 2004 to 2007. The focus of the centre is on the three Rs: the replacement, refinement, and reduction of animal testing. The three Rs were first published in the 1959 by W. M. S. Russell and Rex Birch in the book The Principles of Humane Experimentation Technique.[5] The UK government currently still regards animal testing as necessary, but science minister Lord Sainsbury of Turville said that a "major opportunity" now existed to make progress in improving the welfare of animals used in testing through the three R's.[1]

Knighthood and peerageEdit

Turnberg received a knighthood in 1994 Birthday Honours for services to medicine,[6] having the honour conferred by The Queen on 13 December 1994.[7] On 4 May 2000 he was created a Life Peer by Letters Patent, taking the title Baron Turnberg, of Cheadle in the County of Cheshire.[8][9][10]

At the House of Lords, Turnberg speaks frequently on medical practice, medical ethics, and the Middle East.[1]

He is President of the All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group[11] and a parliamentary supporter of Labour Friends of Israel.[12]

He resigned from the Labour group in July 2019 together with Ara Darzi and David Triesman. Turnberg cited dissatisfaction with the party's policies on foreign affairs, its approach to Brexit and what he called the "bypassing of parliamentary opinion" and the "overt anti-Semitism that permeates the party machine".[13]

Personal lifeEdit

On the unexpected death of his son Daniel in 2007 he established a travelling fellowship that allows medical researchers from the Middle East to visit UK academic institutions.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Turnberg LA (2014). Forks in the road - a life in and out of the NHS. London, UK: Royal College of Physicians. ISBN 978-1-86016-527-6.
  2. ^ a b "Leslie Turnberg". Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  3. ^ "Royal College of Physicians: College History: Presidents of the College". Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  4. ^ "Official statement about Gaza and Israel". Archived from the original on 15 February 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  5. ^ "The Three Rs: The Way Forward". The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing. Archived from the original on 28 March 2007. Retrieved 4 May 2007.
  6. ^ "No. 53696". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 1994. p. 2.
  7. ^ "No. 53910". The London Gazette. 10 January 1995. p. 307.
  8. ^ "No. 55806". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 March 2000. p. 3658.
  9. ^ "No. 55843". The London Gazette. 9 May 2000. p. 5076.
  10. ^ "Minutes and Order Paper - Minutes of Proceedings". House of Lords. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  11. ^ "Officers". ALL-PARTY BRITAIN-ISRAEL PARLIAMENTARY GROUP. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Parliamentary supporters". Labour Friends of Israel. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Three Labour peers resign whip over 'anti-Semitism'". BBC News. 9 July 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2019.

External linksEdit

Academic offices
Preceded by
Dame Margaret Turner-Warwick
President of the Royal College of Physicians
Succeeded by
George Alberti