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Rishi Sunak urges Brits to return to the office as he warns working from home will ‘harm careers’

According to the Chancellor, working from home could be doing a lot more harm than good…

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has encouraged all those still working from home to return back to the office as he warned home working could potentially ‘harm careers.’

Sunak recently reflected on the on the ‘helpful’ relationships he had made during the early years of his career while working in offices. 

Ahead of the easing of Covid restrictions last month, Sunak said it was ‘really important’ for young people to be in a workplace and said he was looking forward to ‘slowly getting back to that.’

Speaking to LinkedIn News about the matter, he said: “I have spoken previously about young people in particular benefiting from being in offices.

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“It was really beneficial to me when I was starting out in my career.”

He added that, while on a visit to Scotland last week, he had met a number of young people starting careers in financial services, an industry he has worked in. 

He explained: “I was telling them the mentors that I found when I first started my job I still talk to and they have been helpful to me all through my career even after we have gone in different ways.

“I doubt I would have had those strong relationships if I was doing my summer internship or my first bit of my career over Teams and Zoom.

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“And that’s why I think for young people in particular being able to physically be in an office is valuable.”

However, he did acknowledge that a return to work doesn’t have to be immediate and can instead be a gradual process.

“In terms of a return to work, which we have said we would expect that and recommend that to be gradual from when the restrictions eased, in keeping with everything else that we are doing, it’s been gradual, it’s cautious, it’s careful, so there will be a gradual return back to the offices and I think that is what broadly will happen.”

In 2020, approximately 5.6 million people worked mainly from home in the United Kingdom, an increase of around 1.69 million people when compared with 1998. 

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GP reveals why ‘worst cold ever’ is affecting people across Greater Manchester at the moment

That explains a few things…

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A GP has offered an explanation as to why people across the region are experiencing what has been described as ‘the worst cold ever’.

As you’ll probably be aware, thousands of Brits have been experiencing crippling symptoms not unlike those of Covid-19, but are receiving negative PCR tests. The only other explanation? Well, it has to be some form of super cold on steroids.

Some people have been claiming that the new ‘super cold’ has left them feeling like they’ve ‘been hit by a bus’, while others have said with confidence that it is ‘the worst cold’ they’ve ever had.

So, why is the seasonal cold so bloody awful this year?

Well, a GP has offered her expertise on the matter and, as it turns out, the easing of Covid-19 restrictions could be to blame for the new illness.

Dr. Philippa Kaye told BBC Newsbeat : “We’ve actually been seeing a rise in the number of coughs and colds and viral infections. We are mixing in a way that we haven’t been mixing over the past eighteen months.”

She added that during the first lockdowns, numbers of other non-Covid infections fell as a result of social distancing measures and the restrictions on mixing with other households. 

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Dr. Kaye advised to always take a Covid-19 test when feeling unwell and, if it comes back as negative, to simply consume ‘loads of fluids and rest, over-the-counter simple painkillers for headaches and aches and pains’.

She added: “You can get lots of advice from your local pharmacist for minor coughs and colds.

“But if you become more unwell, if you cough up blood, have chest pain, if you have shortness of breath or chest tightness, then you need to seek medical advice.”

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Manchester woman called GP 673 times in one morning to be told to ‘try again tomorrow’

‘Waited further 20 minutes to speak to receptionist to be told there are no appointments left and try again tomorrow’

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David Totterdale / Wikimedia Commons & @taylor_grote / Unsplash

A woman from Manchester recently shared her experience when trying to book a face-to-face GP appointment, saying she called over 600 times to be told to ‘try again tomorrow’.

Francine Jury, a health researcher, took to Twitter to explain how difficult it was to get an appointment via the telephone at her local GP surgery.

She wrote: “Just Dialled GP 673 times over 28 minutes to get into phone queue at position 9. Waited further 20 minutes to speak to receptionist to be told there are no appointments left and try again tomorrow #primarycare is broken. #NHS”.

Francine later followed up her tweet by explaining that her frustration wasn’t with the NHS staff themselves, but with the ‘broken’ system that manages appointments.

She wrote: “The incredible NHS primary care staff are working in a completely broken system. Needs better funding and GPs need more flexibility… GP practices know their patients and communities best and how best to serve them.

“Give them the support they need to make the system work for everyone. Founding principle of NHS- healthcare free at point of NEED, needs better support at primary care level.”

This comes just one week after Rossendale Borough Council raised concerns over the current booking systems and availability of in-person appointments since the pandemic.

Councillor Alan Neal said that patients are visiting NHS walk-in centres and accident and emergency departments as an alternative to the lengthy waiting times to see their own doctors.

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He said: “This is not a criticism of the medical profession. It is a criticism of the organisational system. A few years ago, CCGs [clinical commissioning group] were were set up across the country but, sadly, that system is not fit for purpose.”

Health secretary Sajid Javid recently urged GPs to scale down phone consultations now the height of the crisis is ‘way past’.

He told MPs last week that the government ‘intends to do a lot more’ to ensure in-person consultations go ahead, but did not reveal what specific actions ministers would take.

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Calling women ‘birds’ is ‘plainly sexist’, a judge has ruled

The woman’s boss allegedly used the phrase around her repeatedly, despite her asking him to stoo

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@fotoloredo / Unsplash & Barclays

A UK judge has ruled that calling women ‘birds’ is ‘plainly sexist’ and to even use the term jokingly is ‘foolish’ in a landmark discrimination case.

Judge John Crosfill was ruling on the case of a Barclays investment banker who won a sex discrimination claim after her boss repeatedly referred to herself and other female employees as ‘birds’.

According to the Daily Mail, the tribunal heard how Anca Lacatus grew uncomfortable after her boss James Kinghorn continued to use the term, even after she had asked him to stop. Kinghorn defended his use of the word, however, by saying he was being ‘light-hearted’ with the term, but the tribunal ruled the term is ‘plainly sexist’.

The tribunal, based in East London, heard that Lacatus was initially reluctant to complain about her boss’s sexist language out of fear it would have been damaging to her career, but is now set to receive compensation for his treatment of her.

Barclays

In a statement, Lacatus, who worked as a £46,000-a-year analyst for Barclays in what was her first job in investment banking since graduating from university, said her boss had first referred to a female employee as a ‘bird’ in February 2018.

She said that she immediately told him off for using the phrase but he allegedly continued to say it in a deliberate effort to make her feel uncomfortable.

The tribunal heard how Kinghorn assumed Lacatus saw his use of the word ‘bird’ as light-hearted banter, and that he was joking when he told her not to report his behaviour to HR. At the tribunal, he also accepted his language had been inappropriate.

Judge John Crosfill said: ‘The use of the phrase ‘bird’ was a misplaced use of irony which inadvertently caused offence. We accept that when this was pointed out to [Mr Kinghorn], he ultimately got the message and stopped trying to be funny. We consider that it was very foolish to assume that anybody else would find this language amusing.

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“We find that it is likely that it took some time before Ms Lacatus was sufficiently blunt that the message hit home. The language is plainly sexist, whether misplaced irony or not.”

At the tribunal, Lacatus also won her claim that Barclays failed to accommodate to her request to change her working hours as a result of her endometriosis and anxiety diagnosis’, with her being expected to work past 7pm and between forty to forty-eight hours a week on average. Judge Crosfill slammed this as a ‘serious act of discrimination and one that was exceedingly thoughtless’.

She was signed off in January 2019 and was later made redundant by the bank. A hearing to decide compensation will take place at a later date.

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