Student Health 'no shows' to pay

Kim Maiai
Kim Maiai
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 appointments.

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.

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