Keir Starmer appoints new health and social care secretary as cabinet named

Wes Streeting

Following last week’s General Election, new Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, has announced his Cabinet, including the appointment of Labour’s former shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, as the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Streeting was first elected as MP for Ilford North in 2015 and had been shadow health secretary since 2021.

Before becoming an MP, he served as the deputy leader of Redbridge Council and worked for various charities with a focus on tackling educational inequality.

He takes over leadership of the department from Conservative MP Victoria Atkins, who had served since November 2023 following a string of new health secretaries over the last three years under the then-Conservative government.

Speaking after his appointment, Streeting said of his ambitions in the role: “When we said that patients are being failed on a daily basis, it wasn’t political rhetoric, but the daily reality faced by millions.

“Previous governments have not been willing to admit these simple facts, but, in order to cure an illness, you must first diagnose it.

“This government will be honest about the challenges facing our country, and serious about tackling them.

“From today, the policy of this department is that the NHS is broken.

“That is the experience of patients who are not receiving the care they deserve, and of the staff working in the NHS who can see that – despite giving their best – this is not good enough.”

“This government has received a mandate from millions of voters for change and reform of the NHS, so it can be there for us when we need it once again.

“It will take time – we never pretended that the NHS could be fixed overnight.

“And it will take a team effort. It will be the mission of my department, every member of this government, and the 1.4 million people who work in the NHS, to turn our health service around.”

“That works starts today.”

While he has not yet set out any firm plans, he said talks to end the industrial action by junior doctors would begin immediately with a view to ending any future strikes.

Meanwhile, there is no word yet on who shall replace Helen Whately as Secretary of State for Social Care.

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