Julia Cumberlege, Baroness Cumberlege

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The Baroness Cumberlege

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
In office
14 April 1992 – 2 May 1997
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byThe Baroness Hooper
Succeeded byTessa Jowell
(as minister of state)
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
18 May 1990
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born (1943-01-27) 27 January 1943 (age 77)
Political partyConservative

Julia Frances Cumberlege, Baroness Cumberlege, CBE, DSG, DL (née Camm; born 27 January 1943) is a British Conservative Party politician and businesswoman. She was created a life peer on 18 May 1990 as Baroness Cumberlege, of Newick in the County of East Sussex.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Daughter of Dr Lambert Ulrich Camm (né Kamm;[2] d. 1997), of Appleton, Newick, East Sussex, general practitioner, the first medical officer for Plumpton Racecourse and formerly of the Indian Medical Service,[3] and Mary Geraldine (née Russell), she was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart School, at Tunbridge Wells, Kent.[4][5][6]


After her marriage in 1961 and raising her three sons, Cumberlege served in local government as a justice of the peace for East Sussex from 1973 to 1985, and a member of East Sussex County Council from 1974 to 1985. She was appointed CBE in 1985, and served as a Deputy Lieutenant of East Sussex from 1986 to 1991.[7]

As chair of a review team commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Security,[8] Cumberlege produced a report in 1986 which, among other things, recommended that nurses should be able to prescribe some drugs.[9] From 1987 to 1989, she was a member of the DHSS Expert Advisory Group on AIDS.[10]

In 1992 she was appointed a Junior Health Minister and for five years covered all health and social services matters in the House of Lords. Two years later, she vetoed a major Health Education Authority campaign on condom use, "the first attempt for two years to target the general population at risk of HIV", on the grounds that the poster, press and cinema ads "could cause offence" although there had been no evidence of that when testing the campaign.[11]

She was also the Sponsor Minister for the city of Plymouth responsible for regeneration and a budget of £45 million per year. In 1997 she was Opposition Spokesperson for Health.

In the House of Lords in 2000 on the subject of the Britain's National Health Service, remarking that "We are all trapped in a marvellously pure ideology, the ideal socialist dream", she advocated removing the requirement that the NHS be free at the point of use, replacing it with "an NHS insurance premium", and that "allowances could be made for those with private insurance and private expertise could be used". She also said that "The NHS ought not to exclude as a matter of principle the private sector" stating that "Competition is both a spur and a discipline". She said that "some might advocate putting a hospital or two under private management if only to prove that the Government can do it better." She later went on to say, "I am not advocating privatising the NHS. An undiluted private health insurance scheme is not the answer. With current schemes, so much seems to be excluded. And just when the need is greatest the premiums become unaffordable."[12]

In 2006–07, Cumberlege chaired a commission reviewing the approach of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to child protection.[13]

In 2010 she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of Nursing.[14]

She conducted a review of maternity services for NHS England in 2015. Better Births, the report of the review, recommended that all women should have the choice to give birth where they want, with the support of the same midwife throughout pregnancy, labour and the early weeks of motherhood, with control over a personal maternity care budget of £3,000 to be spent on the NHS care they choose.[15]

In February 2018, she was appointed by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to chair the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Security Review, investigating reports from women patients about harmful side effects from medicines and medical devices, and how the health service had responded. The Review was reported in July 2020.[16] It dealt with oral pregnancy test Primodos, anti-epilepsy drug sodium valproate and pelvic mesh repairs.[17] The Review described "a culture of denial, institutional resistance to responding to safety concerns, and an absence of accountability".[18]

Business ventures[edit]

In 2001 she launched Cumberlege Connections Ltd.; this became Cumberlege Eden and Partners in 2013. These companies specialized in health sector training and consultancy.[19][20][21]


Personal life[edit]

In 1961, she married Patrick Francis Howard Cumberlege, of Vuggles Farm, Newick, Lewes, Sussex, sometime chairman of the Newick Village Society[23] and formerly of the Royal Navy,[24] grandson of Sir Alexander Doran Gibbons, 7th Baronet. They have three sons.[25][26]

A Roman Catholic, she spoke at the Catholic Medical Association (formerly the Guild of Catholic Doctors)'s conference in Bristol in April 2009, officiated by Archbishop Peter Smith.[27]


  1. ^ "No. 52147". The London Gazette. 23 May 1990. p. 9537.
  2. ^ The Medical Register, part 1, 1993, p. 612
  3. ^ "Lambert Ulrich ("Bertie") Camm", BMJ: British Medical Journal Vol. 316, No. 7134, Peter Camm, Mar. 14, 1998, p. 868
  4. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition, vol. 1, Burke's Peerage Ltd, 2003, p. 993
  5. ^ Dod's Parliamentary Companion, 175th year, Dod's Parliamentary Companion Ltd, 2007, p. 620
  6. ^ https://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/10.1093/ww/9780199540884.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-12535/version/8
  7. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition, vol. 1, Burke's Peerage Ltd, 2003, p. 993
  8. ^ Elderly People in Modern Society, Anthea Tinker, Longman, 1992, p. 105
  9. ^ "Nurse prescribing: current status and future developments" (PDF). Nursing Times. 27 April 2004. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  10. ^ Dod's Parliamentary Companion, 175th year, Dod's Parliamentary Companion Ltd, 2007, p. 620
  11. ^ "Aids campaign falls victim to 'back to basics'". The Independent. 29 January 1994. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  12. ^ Westminster, Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Lords. "Lords Hansard text for 2 Feb 2000 (200202-03)". publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  13. ^ " Church 'better at tackling abuse'", BBC News, 15 July 2007
  14. ^ Rolls of Honour Archived 13 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Royal College of Nursing, 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  15. ^ "National maternity review calls for £3,000 'birth budgets'". Guardian. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  16. ^ "The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review". Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.
  17. ^ Collinson, Anna (7 July 2020). "The patients fighting for answers for decades". BBC News. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  18. ^ Burki, Talha (July 2020). "Cumberlege Review slams health care in England". The Lancet. 396 (10245): 156. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(20)31593-2. ISSN 0140-6736. PMID 32682469. S2CID 220575784.
  19. ^ https://imuk.org.uk/about/our-patron
  20. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/jan/28/conservative-peer-lady-cumberlege-finances
  21. ^ https://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/10.1093/ww/9780199540884.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-12535
  22. ^ https://www.iolanthe.org/about/our-team/baroness-julia-cumberlege
  23. ^ http://www.landmarkchambers.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Cumberlege-judgment.pdf
  24. ^ Flora Thompson: The Story of the Lark Rise Writer, Gillian Lindsay, Hale, 1990, p. 171
  25. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition, vol. 1, Burke's Peerage Ltd, 2003, p. 993
  26. ^ https://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/10.1093/ww/9780199540884.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-12535/version/8
  27. ^ April 2009 Catholic Medical Association conference Archived 6 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine

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