RBT Times Health Commission Slide V2

All York residents are being offered a unique opportunity to give evidence to major Commission on the future of Britain’s health and social care services in a session at next Saturday’s Big Tent Ideas Festival, in the grounds of York Minster.

The hugely influential year-long Times newspaper’s Health Commission has been set up to consider the future of health and social care in England in light of the pandemic, growing pressure on budgets, the A&E crisis, rising waiting lists, health inequalities, obesity and the ageing population.

Commission Chair and Times columnist, Rachel Sylvester will take evidence from York witnesses as part of the Festival, alongside fellow Commissioner, Matthew Taylor, who is also the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which speaks on behalf of the whole healthcare system in England.

The Commissioners will hear from expert witnesses Prof Kate Pickett, co-founder of the Equality Trust and Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, as well as Prof Mike Holmes, Chair of Nimbuscare, and Emily Douse, Deputy Manager of York Healthwatch.

It will then open the floor to contributions from the audience about their lived experiences of health and social care services in the City and their ideas for reform.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for York residents to shape the thinking of this most influential of panels, the final report of which will undoubtedly influence the health policies of all the parties in the run up to the general election,” says Ben Rich, Radix Big Tent’s chief executive and Festival organiser.

The session, at 2.40pm on Saturday 17th June, is just one of 34 on topics as varied as big data, the role of religion and the journey to net zero. Founded by Science Minister, George Freeman MP, and Baroness Sally Morgan, Tony Blair’s former head of office, the Festival is a unique platform for those outside the Westminster bubble to influence political policy-making. 

Other speakers from across the political spectrum include the former Health Secretary, Lord Lansley; former business secretary, Sir Vince Cable; Labour frontbencher, Stephen Kinnock MP; Greg Dyke; the new leader of City of York Council, Claire Douglas; and York MPs, Rachael Maskell and Julian Sturdy.

The Festival will be opened on Friday 16th at 6.30pm by Baroness Warsi.  Free tickets, which must be booked in advance, are available from

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