Victoria Atkins becomes new Health Secretary

Victoria Atkins MP has been appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care as part of a Ministerial reshuffle. She replaces Steve Barclay MP who becomes Environment Secretary.

Victoria Atkins has been the Conservative MP for Louth and Horncastle since 2015. She was previously the Financial Secretary to the Treasury since October 2022. Other previous ministerial roles include Prisons Minister, and Women’s Minister.

Victoria has previously attended Community Pharmacy England events in Parliament, including last year’s drop-in event on the hypertension case-finding service. More recently, a member of her team attended the joint Save Our Pharmacies roundtable in March as well as our drop-in event on medicines market instability in June. We have a very constructive relationship with her office and hope to build on this in the coming months.

Pharmacy Minister Neil O’Brien and Health Minister Will Quince MP have also announced that they will leave their Ministerial roles. It is not yet known who their replacements will be.

We will be writing to the Secretary of State and her new Ministerial colleagues in the coming days to open discussions on the unsustainable pressures on community pharmacies, including issues relating to medicines market instability and looking ahead to implementation of the Vision for Community Pharmacy.

Community Pharmacy England CEO Janet Morrison said:

“We would like to welcome the new Secretary of State to her role – we know that she is well briefed on community pharmacy having attended several of our Parliamentary events in the recent past and we look forward to further strengthening that connection. She joins the Department at a pivotal moment for community pharmacy as we hope to soon be implementing the most significant investment for the sector in over a decade. The introduction of a national Pharmacy First service is expected to be a game-changer for the public and the NHS, but it must also be the start of longer-term sustainable funding models for community pharmacy.

We look forward to working constructively with Ms Atkins and her colleagues to secure a sustainable future for community pharmacy that also supports their goals. This includes early discussions on the way forward and the implementation of the Vision for Community Pharmacy. We would also like to extend our thanks to the outgoing Ministerial team for their vote of confidence in community pharmacy as set out in the Delivery Plan for Recovering Access to Primary Care.”