a distinguished consultant who saved thousands of lives at Basildon Hospital has been elevated to the House of Lords.

Sir Bernard Ribeiro, 66, has been made a Conservative working peer, Downing Street announced.

Last year the dad of four, who spearheaded the use of keyhole surgery at Basildon Hospital, was given a knighthood for services to medicine.

Sir Bernard retired from his post as consultant general surgeon at Basildon Hospital last year.

Alan Whittle, hospital chief executive, said: “This is fantastic news and well deserved.

“Bernie, as he has always been affectionately known here, has contributed greatly to the medical profession and the health service, both locally and nationally.”

Sir Bernard worked at the hospital for almost 30 years, where he created a long list of outstanding achievements and won a reputation as a warm and caring doctor.

He was instrumental in bringing several groundbreaking medical procedures to the hospital, notably the use of keyhole surgery in the early Nineties.

He was also a key player in Basildon Hospital’s successful bid for the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre to be built at the site.

He was elected president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2005.

Sir Bernard now lives with his wife, Elisabeth, in Alresford, Hampshire.

Other people named as working peers include Anne Jenkin, the wife of Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin, Julian Fellowes, creator of ITV1 drama series Downton Abbey, and Sir Paul McCart-ney’s divorce lawyer, Fiona Shackleton.