Forks in the road: a life in and out of the NHS

Forks in the road: a life in and out of the NHS


An autobiography by Leslie Turnberg

‘It’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it.’ This quotation by Charles de Lint epitomises Forks in the road ‒ an inspiring tale of a boy raised in the backstreets of Salford, who went on to achieve great things. Leslie Turnberg’s sincerity and passion for medicine in general, and the NHS in particular, are evident in the various anecdotes he shares with us from his journey through the corridors of medicine spanning half a century.  

Forks in the road not only presents a calm and collected critique of our national health service, but also lays out simple and practical solutions to some of the challenges faced by the NHS today. Leslie’s introduction to the House of Lords brings an interesting angle to the story, with a bird’s eye view of the power play between politics and medicine. As Professor Ray Tallis observes, this book is ‘a magnificent account of a life well spent at the centre of British medicine, and of its satisfactions and frustrations, of the splendeurs et misères of medical politics’.

About the author

Lord Turnberg of Cheadle (Les) has held many senior positions within the medical field, including professor of medicine at University of Manchester from 1973 to 1997, dean of the Medical School from 1983 to 1986 and president of the Royal College of Physicians from 1992 to 1997. He was 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, and chair of the UK Forum for Genetics and Insurance from 1998 to 2002. His current appointments include scientific advisor to the Association of Medical Research Charities; trustee of the Wolfson Foundation, Ovarian Cancer Action, the Foulkes Foundation and Weizmann UK; and fellow and former vice-president of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He was knighted in 1994 and raised to peerage in 2000. He has published six books and some 150 articles on medical and scientific research.

See selected lectures by Leslie Turnberg

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Forks in the road: a life in and out of the NHS