University of Otago's Student Health Services is cracking
down on students who do not turn up to appointments, in an
effort to reduce the time patients have to wait to get
Director Dr Kim Maiai said from next month students missing
appointments would face a $20 charge. A combination of a
reduced workforce - due to unfilled vacancies - and a rise in
the number of
students seeking treatment meant students had to wait longer
to get appointments.
A student commenting on the change on the Otago University
Students' Association Facebook page said waiting times were
''getting pretty ridiculous'' during parts of this semester.
Dr Maiai said similar charges had been introduced at other
universities and it was hoped the move would encourage more
to turn up.
''If appointments aren't being kept, then not only is the
person who didn't show up for the appointment not receiving
service but the person who was unable to get an appointment
is not getting service.''
Longer waiting times for appointments came as more students
were turning up with flu-like symptoms at the start of winter
than in previous years.
He stressed the problem of no-shows was not ''overwhelming''
and the change was about making sure students were getting as
much service as possible.
''Lots of students do cancel their appointments if they no
longer need them or their situation has changed.''
The change was also about meeting student demands.
''Younger people aren't used to waiting for services and they
want everything today.''
The OUSA supported the move and any efforts to reduce waiting
lists and increase availability of appointments would likely
be appreciated by students, he said.
GP consultations at Student Health Services cost $6.50 for
students with a Community Services Card.