Victoria Atkins has been appointed as the new health secretary in a Cabinet reshuffle, Downing Street has confirmed.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has appointed the Lincolnshire MP to succeed Steve Barclay in the reshuffle of his top team today.

Mr Barclay will stay in the Cabinet as environment, food and rural affairs secretary.

Ms Atkins has been the MP for Louth and Horncastle since 2015 and was previously financial secretary to the Treasury, minister for prisons and probation, and minister for Afghan resettlement.

Before becoming an MP, she worked as a criminal barrister specialised in prosecuting serious organised crime.

Chair of the health and social care select committee Steve Brine MP welcomed Ms Atkins' appointment, which he said comes 'at a critical time for the NHS with the number of patients waiting for treatment at a record high'.

And he urged the new secretary of state for health and social care to prioritise the prevention of ill-health.

'Preventing ill-health will be key to helping the NHS manage its resources. Prevention is one of this committee’s priorities and I hope it will be high up the on new Secretary of State’s agenda too,' he said.

And he thanked Mr Barclay for his work at the Department of Health and Social Care, wishing him well in his new role.

Ms Atkin's appointment follows the resignations of pharmacy minister Neil O’Brien and minister for Health and Secondary Care Will Quince earlier this morning.

A version of this breaking news story first appeared on our sister publication, Pulse. More to follow...