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July 23, 2018 | by  | in News |
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Victoria Health Care Ain’t A Casual Affair

Casual visits to student health have been scrapped. As of Monday, 16 July, students who are not enrolled with Victoria University’s health service will no longer be able to see a doctor.
The University explained that the cuts to casual patient visits were due to an ongoing campaign to encourage students to enroll. They stressed that enrolling, which gives doctors and nurses access to patient’s medical records, was paramount to their service.
Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association have received assurances from Student Health that the changes will have minimal negative impact, and the “changes will be communicated in a clear way to students”.
However, the change has not been advertised on the Student Health website, and students have not received any communication of the changes through email. Exactly how the change is being communicated to students remains unclear. Marlon Drake, VUWSA president, said that their priority is accessible and quality healthcare for students. “If this change ends up leading to worse health outcomes for students, then we do not support it.”
VUWSA have said they would like to hear from students affected by the change.
Leah Rodgers, a student, said that she like many students was not aware of the changes but supports them if it means an increase in the overall quality service. “I think that the student health system is pretty flawed in itself. Not to disregard those who aren’t registered… I’ve had to wait weeks and weeks for appointments due to the volume of students and lack of doctors. If the changes mean the system overall for those enrolled gets better, I’m in support I guess.”
Many other Student Health Services around the country take casual patients, including Massey, Canterbury, and Waikato.
Pam Thorburn, Director of Student Academic Services, said, “as a health service we want to provide the best care to our students… It is harder for our doctors and nurses when they are not able to access medical histories/notes for those students who have not registered with the practice. This is further complicated with students who present with complex medical issues”.
Thorburn said Student Health wanted to prioritise regular enrolled patients. “We are striving to create an equitable, fair and accessible service for those patients who have chosen Student Health as their regular GP practice.”
Unenrolled students will still however have access to counselling services offered by Student Health, and would still be eligible for HPV and flu vaccinations.
Thorburn reassures us that casual patients with a medical emergency will always be seen, and casual patients will still be able to see a doctor during exam periods for aegrotat assessment.

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