The Health Centre in the Student Centre will not be subject to financial cuts this year, despite cuts in many other areas. This news comes after a review of the health centre, which yielded positive results.
UCDSU Welfare Officer Mícheál Gallagher commented that the review “made some recommendations on management issues, and then in terms of the Health Centre budget this year, it has not been cut like other departments.” This marks the fifth year for which this budgetary freeze will be in place.
The Health Service is expected to move to the new student centre this year though “there’s no timescale as of yet.” UCDSU President Rachel Breslin believes that this review is well-timed to ensure the best possible service will be provided in the new location. “This is a key time and an opportunity to transform the service when it’s moving over to the medical suite; to expand on it, to make it more student -friendly and the review is good as a precursor to that so that we know what needs to change.”
The Students’ Union are pushing for even more investment in the health service. This investment is likely to come from an agreement between the SU and HEA to reinvest €3.6 million into student services after a wages overspend of the same amount three years ago. No one area has been confirmed to receive this funding, but Breslin stated: ‘‘From a Students’ Union point of view, that’s definitely one of the student’s services that needs to be prioritised.’’
Breslin hopes that some of this money will be put into a secondary doctor scheme, howevershe plans to launch a similar scheme as a pilot in the next “two weeks”. The scheme will aim to reduce Health Centre waiting lists by providing other approved GPs who provide a wide enough range of services at reduced rates, in an acceptable location. She aims to compile a database of local services and to promote the most suitable ones to students.
This will begin as an SU scheme, but Breslin envisions it being adopted by university officials next year, once the SU have proven “that this works.”