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UK regulator slams waiting times, patient records at trans clinic

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UK regulator slams waiting times, patient records at trans clinic 1

By Rachel Savage

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – England’s only youth gender identity clinic faced criticism on Wednesday from the country’s health regulator, which said patients “at risk of self-harm” were waiting too long to access specialist care.

A report by the Care Quality Commission rated the clinic run by London’s Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust as “inadequate” – the worst of four ratings – and said 26% of patients waited more than two years for their first appointment.

Two thirds of patients referred to a specialist at the Gender Identity Development Service had to wait for more than a year.

“Many of the young people waiting for or receiving a service were very vulnerable and at risk of self-harm,” the report said.

“The size of the waiting list meant that staff could not proactively monitor the risks to all patients waiting for their first appointment,” the report added, noting a sharp increase in referrals from 77 in 2009/10 to more than 2,700 in 2019/20.

The regulator’s criticism follows a high-profile court ruling last month that stopped doctors from being able to prescribe puberty-blocking drugs to under-16s without a judge’s approval.

Trans activists point to studies showing the drugs may help alleviate mental health issues trans young people suffer going through puberty in their birth sex, but others say the drugs have unknown long-term mental and physical effects.

The High Court ruling fueled a global debate about the age a child can transition gender.

The Tavistock, which was granted leave to appeal the judgment this week, said it took the Care Quality Commission’s report “very seriously”.

“(We) would like to say sorry to patients for the length of time they are waiting to be seen,” a spokesman for the Tavistock said in an emailed statement.

“We very much accept the need for improvements in our assessments, systems and processes … and will be agreeing a full action plan with the CQC to address further concerns.”

England’s National Health Service (NHS) said it had “previously recognised the need for a review of how to best meet the needs of children and young people with gender incongruence”.

It launched an independent review of the gender identity service in September.

Late last year, a transgender teenager took legal action against the NHS over the long wait to see a specialist at the Tavistock clinic. Under NHS rules, specialist care should be available within 18 weeks.

Besides the concern over waiting times, the Care Quality Commission criticised the clinic over the quality of its medical records.

“There was no clear rationale for clinical decision making,” it said.

(Reporting by Rachel Savage @rachelmsavage; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Senior leaders call on UK businesses not to fail young people

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Senior leaders call on UK businesses not to fail young people 2

Leaders across major businesses including Barclays, M&S and BAE Systems call for more businesses to join Movement to Work

  • The number of 16 to 24-year-olds in employment has dropped to a record low of 3.51m, after a fall of 244,000 in the past 12 months
  • Leaders and decision makers across major businesses including Marks & Spencer, Unilever, Diageo and Tesco call for more businesses to create work experience opportunities for young people, to improve conversion into permanent employment
  • Movement to Work (MtW) CEO warns of missing talent and letting young people down – charity offering business support free-of-charge

Nearly one year on from the first lockdown, and more than one in ten young people have lost their job, with the number of 16 to 24-year-olds in employment falling to a record low of 3.51m. Furthermore, 50% of students have felt their mental health decline during the Covid-19 pandemic. This bleak reality has raised alarm amongst many senior business leaders and decision makers, who fear letting down a generation and wasting unthinkable amounts of talent if we do not do more to help immediately. They are calling on UK businesses to support young people by providing work experience opportunities to break the cycle of “no experience – no job, no job – no experience” that so many are facing. Movement to Work – a not-for-profit youth employment charity – is offering help to any organisation willing to set up such schemes.

During the pandemic, under 25s were more likely than any other age group to be furloughed. The same age group now makes up a third of universal credit claims. Millions of young people are already struggling, and the future looks even more grim, with a think tank predicting that young people are a third less likely to be in employment three years after entering than if the pandemic never happened.[1]

Leaders from major businesses including Tesco, Marks & Spencer, BT, Accenture, BAE Systems, Barclays, Unilever have joined Movement to Work’s network of employers and have collectively delivered over 100,000 work placements for young people to date, with a large number of these resulting in permanent employment. Now , they are urging other UK businesses of all sizes to join the movement to hit 200,000 placements at pace.

Hosting a summit on 24th February, these leaders will join young people to discuss how they can help the next generation into employment. Minister for Employment Mims Davies and Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey is also expected to appear. The annual event, which will be held virtually for the first time this year, is a unique opportunity to talk honestly and boldly about the issues at hand, and what can be done to resolve them.

 Natasha Adams, Chief People Officer, Tesco PLC said: “Tesco has always been a place to get on and we’re proud that so many of our fantastic colleagues started their careers at a young age. Movement to Work works alongside companies to nurture those who might otherwise feel excluded from the workforce. The effects of the pandemic mean it is more important than ever to support our young talent and provide the tools, support and opportunities for them to succeed in their future careers.”

Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive Officer, BAE Systems, said: “This is a critical time not only for young people, but for UK business as a whole. Those of us who can, must continue to support young people, providing opportunities to develop the skills and confidence they need both for their future success and the country’s economic prosperity.”

Olly Benzecry, Chairman of Accenture (UKI) and Chair of Movement to Work, said: “Young people have been hardest hit as the UK unemployment rate has risen to new heights during the last year. With sectors that many young people traditionally find employment in, such as retail and hospitality, being disproportionately affected by Covid-19, the younger generation are missing out on vital experience, learning and stability that will help them fulfil their potential. UK business must play a vital role in safeguarding the workforce of the future, which is why it is our collective responsibility to make a purposeful impact.”

Sam Olsen, CEO Movement to Work said: “The moral case for helping young people right now is really clear, but the business case is stronger with each day – setting up work experience programmes generates a fantastic diverse talent pipeline for an organisation, and there’s lots of government-backed schemes like Kickstart to help make it cost effective. We understand times are tough, so Movement to Work can help you figure out the right fit for your organisation, and have a positive impact in the community as a direct result.”

Key speaker at the summit is MtW Youth Ambassador Sam Meakings, now a Youth Employability Coach at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). After years of struggling to find permanent work, he has been helping young people into jobs throughout the pandemic: “I have come full circle. I have suffered the stress and lack of confidence that comes with a long path to the world of work, but starting with the Movement to Work programme, I have spent the last few years building a career I love. Now I am a Youth Employability Coach. The work is so rewarding, but I know first-hand that our young people need willing employers more than ever.”

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Disney CEO says households without kids have boosted streaming success

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Disney CEO says households without kids have boosted streaming success 3

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Surprisingly strong interest from adults who do not have kids at home has helped increase subscriptions to Walt Disney Co’s Disney+ streaming service beyond initial projections, Chief Executive Bob Chapek said on Monday.

Disney+ debuted in November 2019 and growth has exceeded Wall Street expectations and Disney’s forecast. While Disney is known for family entertainment, Disney+ also features movies and TV shows from Marvel, “Star Wars” studio Lucasfilm and others.

As of Jan. 2, Disney+ had signed up 94.9 million customers worldwide. Half of those live in households without children, Chapek said, a higher proportion than expected.

“What we didn’t realize was the non-family appeal that a service like Disney+ would have,” Chapek said via online video to the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference.

“In fact, over 50% of our global marketplace don’t have kids,” he added. “When 50% of the people in Disney+ don’t have kids, you really have the opportunity now to think much more broadly about the nature of your content.”

The service has generated buzz for current Marvel show “WandaVision” and “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” featuring the character known as Baby Yoda.

Chapek, who became Disney CEO a year ago, refocused Disney’s media and entertainment businesses to make streaming the priority as customers gravitate to options such as Netflix Inc.

In December, Disney raised initial projections and said it expected to attract as many as 350 million global subscribers across all of its streaming services, which include Hulu and ESPN+, by the end of fiscal 2024.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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Zoom shares rise on strong current-quarter forecast, upbeat results

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Zoom shares rise on strong current-quarter forecast, upbeat results 4

(Reuters) – Zoom Video Communications Inc forecast current-quarter revenue above expectations, as the company expects millions of people to continue using its video-conferencing platform to work remotely and attend online classes, sending its shares up 10%.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Zoom was a relative upstart founded by a former Cisco executive that had gone public on a promise to make video conferencing software easier to use.

However, businesses around the globe took to the company’s video conferencing services during the virus outbreak. Zoom has since seen a meteoric rise over the last year, with investors keen on knowing if the firm can maintain this level of growth.

Eric Yuan, founder and chief executive officer of Zoom, said the firm was “well positioned for strong growth” in the coming year.

The company forecast current-quarter revenue between $900 million and $905 million, compared with estimates of $829.2 million, according to IBES Refinitiv data.

Zoom has seen its user numbers surge in the past year, while its shares more than quadrupled during the same period. The platform said it has 1,644 customers contributing more than $100,000 in trailing 12 months revenue, more than double from a year earlier.

The company reported quarterly revenue of $882.5 million, compared with estimates of $811.8 million. On an adjusted basis, Zoom earned $1.22 per share, beating estimates of 79 cents per share.

The company’s shares, which closed up 9.6% on Monday, were trading at $452 after the bell.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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