NHS Confederation responds to appointment of Victoria Atkins as health and care secretary

Matthew Taylor responds to the appointment of a new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

13 November 2023

Responding to the appointment of Victoria Atkins as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: 

“The Secretary of State takes office as system and Trust leaders are digesting, and working out how to respond to, last week’s deeply disappointing funding announcement which saw their pleas for more funding to cover the costs of industrial action and inflation answered by taking investment away from key areas that are likely to harm the NHS in the long term.

“With its reshuffle, the government has an opportunity to revisit this decision in the imminent Autumn Statement, as well as more generally reset relationships with the health and care sector. 

“While Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP has clearly been a divisive health and social care secretary, on behalf of our members we thank him for the progress he made to resolve the dispute with most trade unions that had facilitated strike activity and for the recent encouraging signs of progress in the talks with the BMA. It is vital that the NHS does not face further industrial action as this threat, both in terms of the financial hit and the growing waiting lists, continues to weigh heavily on the health service as winter approaches.
“We look forward to working constructively with Rt Hon Victoria Atkins to help deliver on the priorities of health leaders, their staff and patients.”