Ms Atkins previously served as the financial secretary to the Treasury.
Conservative MP Victoria Atkins has been appointed to replace Steve Barclay as the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
Amid a surprise cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Ms Atkins has been confirmed by Downing Street as the fifth MP to hold the role in as many years.
A privately-educated barrister by background, Ms Atkins is married to Managing Director of British Sugar Paul Kenward, and is the daughter of Lady Dulcie Atkins and Sir Robert Atkins, a former long-serving Conservative MP and MEP.
She is not known to have any professional experience in health or social care.
Ms Atkins now faces tackling threats of industrial action from junior doctors, rising NHS waiting lists and winter around the corner.
Two other junior health ministers at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Neil O’Brien and Will Quince have also announced they are to leave the department.
Responding to the appointment of Victoria Atkins as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Royal College of Nursing Chief Nurse Professor Nicola Ranger said: “Victoria Atkins’ first priority must be to get the NHS the extra funding it needs in next week’s autumn statement. The current financial settlement is penalising patients – those on waiting lists are being told to wait even longer in a cash-strapped NHS. She can begin to address that.
“The workforce plan she inherits is a big picture vision that needs sizeable and rapid investment to make happen.
“Victoria Atkins will need to raise the morale of the current workforce and make urgent moves to shore up patient safety. There are over 40,000 nursing vacancies across the NHS in England and staff deal with staff shortages on every shift – one nurse caring for 10, 15 or more patients is a grave risk she must not accept.
“In the last year, the issues that nursing staff have campaigned on have not gone away. Intolerable pressures at work, real-terms pay cuts, and chronic staff shortages all remain. We expect the new Health Secretary to engage nursing staff in her plans and deliver long-term investment for a sustainable future.”