Victoria Atkins has been appointed as the new secretary of state for health and social care, replacing Steve Barclay, as part of a major cabinet reshuffle on 13 November 2023.
Barclay, who spent two periods as health secretary — from July to September 2022, and then from October 2022 until 13 November 2023 — has been moved to the role of secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs after Thérèse Coffey’s resignation on the same day.
It is the first cabinet post for Atkins since she was elected as Conservative MP for Louth and Horncastle in May 2015.
Atkins has held the role of financial secretary to the Treasury since 27 October 2022. Prior to this, she was minister of state at the Ministry of Justice and minister for Afghan resettlement between September 2021 and 6 July 2022.
From 2017 to 2021, Atkins was the parliamentary under-secretary of state for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability at the Home Office. This role included work on domestic abuse, honour-based violence, sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation.
Prior to her election as an MP in 2015, Atkins was a criminal barrister specialising in prosecuting serious organised crime.
Health ministers Neil O’Brien, who held the pharmacy brief, and Will Quince, also announced on 13 November 2023 they will step down from the Department of Health and Social Care.