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March 16, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Student Health 101: Help us help you!

Student Health is dedicated to providing high quality low-cost healthcare for all students. Our two clinics are staffed by qualified and experienced doctors and nurses. For NZ resident students who chose to enrol with the PHO under our service, routine nurse and doctor consultations are free. We offer free sexual health checks and appointments for contraception, including the emergency contraceptive pill for all students who are less than twenty-five years old. We offer many other services, including diving and driving medicals, travel health consultations and immunisations, minor surgery, immigration and insurance medicals, and referrals to our visiting medical specialists for students with mental health issues, skin conditions, and diabetes.

Last year we provided 30,576 student appointments.

Student Health is not a fast food restaurant—we are more like fine dining

We know that you all have very busy lives. We do too. Help reduce your stress and ours by booking your routine appointments in advance. We know that it can be stressful running out of your contraceptive pill, asthma inhalers or antidepressant medication. By booking in advance you are more likely to be able to see the doctor or nurse of your choice, at a time which is convenient for you. Seeing the same nurse or doctor is helpful, as it promotes continuity of care and avoids having to explain your situation again to another health professional. Continuity of care promotes feelings of trust and support, and helps you successfully address issues affecting your health. Ultimately it will help you will feel better. People tend to go to the same hairdresser, petrol station, bars, cafés and shops. So find a doctor and nurse you feel comfortable with and stay with them. It is safer and you will feel happier. Please be aware that a number of our doctors are only available part-time, so plan ahead.

Help to make sure we do not miss seeing any very ill students we triage

We need to be available for students who are ill. We will offer you a same day routine booked appointment whenever possible. During busy times, especially in winter, routine appointments become fully booked. In order to provide safe and timely health care for students requesting same day care, we use a triage system to sort out clinical priority, eg. to make sure the sickest people get seen soonest.

Clinical priority is given to those in pain, injured, distressed, really unwell, and those requiring the emergency contraceptive pill (ECP). This means that all students seen on the same day will see one of our triage nurses first to be assessed, and then if necessary referred to see a doctor. This is not a “booked “appointment, it is a place in a clinical priority queue. Please do not get annoyed at the reception and nursing staff and say ‘I only want to see a doctor’, or ‘how long is it going to take?’ To ensure safe care for all those without a booked appointment who request same day care, everyone sees a nurse first.

How to save money—cancel your appointment if you no longer need it

We thought about this a lot, but at the end of last year we introduced a $10 charge for people who failed to arrive for an appointment without letting us know.

If a student does not arrive for an appointment it has implications for others. The clinics are very busy and the missed appointment could have been used by another student. It costs around $70 to provide each 15 minute appointment at Student Health Service. Wasting money and reducing income affects our capacity to provide services to you and other students. The nurse or doctor will wonder what happened to you and they may spend valuable time trying to contact you.

If you would like to avoid a charge for not attending an appointment, please contact us. It is easy to do. We have a cancellation line, just call 463 5308 and follow the options during business hours (Option 1—speak to our receptionist, Option 2—leave a cancellation message). If you are unable to call, you can email us after hours on Please note telephone messages and emails are only checked during working hours.

In summary, follow these tips below, help us to help you, and you will be happy!

-Book ahead for routine appointments, ask for the same doctor or nurse if possible.

-Contact us as early as possible if you need to be seen that day.

-Seek help if you need support or want to discuss something you are worried about. We will work with you to help you feel better.

-Contact us to reschedule or cancel an appointment to save a non attendance charge.

Please contact us regarding any comments you have regarding our service. We welcome your recommendations and appreciate any feedback you are able to provide. We want to be the best Student Health Clinic possible.

Visit for details on locations, opening hours, services offered, and much more.


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