Student Health Hub to relieve pressure on local services

Thursday 30 August 2018

From September 2018 the University of St Andrews will be providing a dedicated service at the St Andrews Community Hospital, to assist with connecting students to the right service either within the NHS or the University.

The move follows recognition that a service better designed to meet student needs would also better serve the local community. The University is aware that because the internationally recognised word for medical assessment is “doctor”, many students request to see doctors when, in fact, one of the other NHS primary healthcare providers might be more appropriate. In fact, it is estimated that up to 80% of students seeking GP appointments do not require to see a doctor in order to access the services they require.

The result has been pressure on the GP appointments system and longer waiting times.

Now the University and local NHS care providers are pleased to announce the launch of a new Student Healthcare Strategy, designed to deliver the service students need while also improving the healthcare response for local people. The main features of the strategy are:

  • A new Student Health Hub – located in a new office in the foyer of the local Community hospital. This should be the first point of contact for any student with a non-emergency health issue and will be staffed by University staff who can provide triage and advice.
  • A Student Health App – bespoke to the University of St Andrews and providing advice and lists local contact points for students.
  • A new Student Health Helpline – resourced by University staff.
  • Student Clinics operating from the local Community hospital – offering in excess of 7000 additional student appointments each year.
  • Health Promotion – through liaison between the Health Centre and University Student Services, supported by the Students’ Association Welfare Committee.

This represents an investment of £150,000 per year by the University of St Andrews.

Director of Student Wellbeing Projects at the University of St Andrews, Dr Chris Lusk, said:

“In the past waiting times have been as long as three weeks for a doctor’s appointment, but with University investment and the wholehearted cooperation of our local GPs, we are all optimistic that waiting times will be brought right down, assuring appropriate access for students and residents alike.”

The Student Healthcare Strategy will relieve pressure on front-line NHS services in terms of dealing with non-emergency healthcare. However the University remains seriously concerned regarding the closure of out-of-hours GP services, with transfer of services to Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital between midnight and 8am. The University has warned there is a real chance that an emergency will go unassessed and untreated due to the absence of accessible facilities.

The University has offered to discuss the matter further with the Fife health and social care partnership to see how the university can help in retaining out-of-hours provision.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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