Students at the University of York have revealed to Nouse the poor conditions they are subject to while waiting for healthcare from Unity Health, the on-campus provider of healthcare. Citing long waiting times, having to wait in the cold for up to 40 minutes in order to make the ‘drop-in’ sessions and their anger at the regular offer of an appointment two weeks later.
One student, a 1st-year at Halifax College, suffering from tonsillitis, told Nouse how he arrived at 8:36am one Wednesday, expecting to be in time for the ‘drop-in’, which opens at 8:30am.
Instead he was told by staff that they were ‘already full’ and was offered the choice of an appointment two weeks later or to try again the next day, but that he should arrive around 8:00am.
The next day the student arrived at 7:50am to find that he was 4th in line and that he would have to wait outside in, what he described as, “the freezing cold”. Expressing his anger at the the fact that he and others were forced to wait outside in cold and damp weather, which only helped to exacerbate his symptoms. The student commented that he felt “dreadfully ill and incredibly annoyed at the fact that you could see the receptionist staff looking at us outside from around 8am”, adding that if you “didn’t bring music the wait would be awful”.
Another 1st-year patient explained to Nouse how she too had to wait outside in harsh conditions, adding how she was “disappointed that despite arriving at 8am, [she] was still 10th in the line”.
Pointing out that such a service would not be acceptable in an NHS-run clinic, she was equally angry about the poor appointment availability and lack of ‘drop-in’ sessions over the weekend, which only run Monday to Friday.
The patient continued to add that “as a first point of improvement students should be able to wait inside, away from the often freezing conditions”.
A focus group is set to take place on Wednesday 18 November with the goal of helping to ‘shape the provision of healthcare at York’, though the outcome of this group remains unclear. Given that over two years ago, this very paper reported on student anger over two week waiting times for appointments and rising student dissatisfaction with the service, it is clear that the issue is still an ongoing one.