The UK’s new Prime Minister, Keir Starmer, has appointed Member of Parliament (MP) for Ilford North, Wes Streeting as the newest Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, taking over from Victoria Atkins.

The move comes following the much-expected election win of the UK Labour Party last Thursday in which the centre-left party took a majority of 411 seats against the Conservative party’s 121 seats. Now, Wes Streeting is set to take over a government department beset with issues from across the country, from strikes and medical staff wages to crumbling hospitals and lopsided investment.

Initially entering government in 2015 after winning his seat in Ilford North, Streeting would go on to become the Shadow Minister for Schools as part of the opposition government under the Labour Party, before moving on to later become Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Addressing the country following his appointment as Heath Secretary, Streeting iterated that the party was committed to negotiations with National Health Service (NHS) staff in a bid to end the ongoing strikes, as well as a promise to slash wait times.

Streeting said: “When we said during the election campaign, that the NHS was going through the biggest crisis in its history, we meant it.

“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.

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“I have just spoken over the phone with the British Medical Association (BMA) junior doctors committee, and I can announce that talks to end their industrial action will begin next week.”

Responding to Streeting’s comments, the BMA has said that it is keen ‘to work together’ in hopes of getting the NHS “back on its feet” as research produced by the BMA reveals that more than 7.56 million people are currently on some form of waiting list for a procedure within the NHS.

In a letter to Streeting, Philip Banfield, BMA chair of the council said: “We have heard your commitment to pay restoration as a journey and put our faith in your intentions to work together towards a resolution.

“Medical associate professions are being employed across the NHS without any defined national scope of practice, posing a real and present patient safety risk. The profession will be looking for you to take urgent action; the dangerous substitution of doctors must be stopped.”

In the private space, it has yet to be seen how Streeting’s appointment will play out, with the UK’s life sciences sector tentatively embracing the stability that a change in the UK government represents after a period of healthcare management that has largely seen government investment driven into regional, southern research facilities as opposed to broader investment.

Commenting on the appointment of Streeting, chief executive of the British Healthcare Trades Association, David Stockdale, said: “I would like to congratulate Mr Streeting on his appointment as the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

“With his experience leading the opposition on healthcare matters, Mr Streeting will be well informed on the challenges facing the health service. On behalf of the industry, we stand ready to work with the new Health Secretary and collaborate on creating a vibrant health and social care sector that truly delivers for patients.”