Unity Health is reopening its patient list having not been able to register incoming students arriving on campus. The GP practice was not able to register new patients due to having been placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). These left freshers arriving on campus without healthcare services on the University site, with Unity Health advising would-be patients to use Jorvik GP clinic on Gillygate instead. Now that Unity Health has reopened its patient list, YUSU is working with the clinic to help them register new students as well as dealing with the problems that caused Unity to be put in special measures in the first place.
Unity Health has said they will change the way they receive feedback from students after this was one of the areas they came under fire over. YUSU have helped Unity Health to facilitate four drop-in sessions in YourSpace starting in Week 3, which will give students a chance to give feedback directly to the GP clinic. Present at these sessions will be the partners of the practice or the practice manager, meaning that students will have the opportunity to give face-to-face feedback to those in charge of Unity Health.
YUSU’s Community and Wellbeing Officer, Steph Hayle, spoke of the chance for students to improve Unity Health through these sessions: “We encourage students to provide their own feedback and recommendations for the practice through our drop-in sessions that we’ll be hosting across the next term. Here you can speak directly to practice staff and help shape the future of Unity Health with the people who can make a change.” With the patient list having been reopened, Hayle also says the sessions provide an opportunity for students to register with the GP service: “Our drop-in sessions will also provide an opportunity for new students that wish to register as patients with Unity to sign up.”
Unity Health was first placed into special measures after a report published by the CQC assessed their services as inadequate. The report found the GPs surgery inadequate in categories of safety, effectiveness, responsiveness, and management. The report is based on an inspection at the Wenlock Terrace Surgery in May 2018 and was published in July. Unity Health being placed on special measures also follows lobbying by YUSU, who has long dealt with complaints from students over how the clinic was run. Issues brought up in the CQC report echo long-standing issues often raised by York students including difficulties using the online consultation form and in reaching the surgery by phone. As well as lack of access to appointments, the CQC report found that the clinic was understaffed and that there were inadequate safety precautions. Unity Health has committed to rectifying the issues that caused them to be placed in special measures, and have identified listening to student concerns as a large step in tackling their problems. With YUSU working in conjunction with the clinic, it is hoped that student voices will be heard and that new students registering on the newly reopened patient list will feel Unity Health is much more adequate in dealing with their concerns.