After writing to all UCL departments earlier this week, we have see a huge surge in signatures to the petition to save the UCL Health Centre. At the time of writing, 3,156 concerned people have signed, with many leaving impassioned responses. Today, all six UCLU Full-Time Officers wrote the letter below to Rex Knight, Vice-Provost (Operations) to make clear that this campaign has not gone away, that the issue is deeply and widely felt across the university, and that we must see some action soon. Find out what action you can take here.
We write to you regarding the proposed relocation of the UCL Health Centre.
The Provost, in his letter to us of 25/01/2013, reiterated UCL’s commitment ‘to maintaining the provision of a high quality medical service to students.’ You and Andrew Grainger have confirmed this in person on several occasions. However, four months have now passed since we first wrote to the university to express our concerns;.
The UCLU petition, which has now been signed by over 3,100 people, states the following:
We, the undersigned, demand that UCL retain a university-centred Health Centre for students and staff, and that this health centre:
• has the same or greater level of provision as the current health centre
• is on the UCL Bloomsbury Campus, and
• is included in UCL’s Bloomsbury Masterplan, perhaps in the proposed ‘Student Centre’
We also demand that, until a long-term solution is reached, the leases of the GPP and The Dental Centre be extended to ensure no break in the continuity of care.
We write therefore to ask whether there has been any development in finding such a location for the Health Centre, and urge UCL to act quickly to reassure the UCL Community.
At our meeting with UCL Estates on 18/02, Andrew Grainger would not make a commitment to extend the lease if no solution is found by July 2014, suggesting that this could be used to deliberately prolong the process. This does not display the collegiate outlook we would expect regarding an issue of this importance. Students, staff and the UCL Health Centre do not want uncertainty to continue any longer than necessary; however, it is clear that the UCL Community does want a solution that incorporates the UCL Health Centre in the vicinity of UCL, and this may take some time.
We have acted in good faith and run this campaign to canvass the UCL community for support. We, and the student body, are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with what seems to be a lack of action on the very serious matter of student welfare.
We will finish with two comments left at the petition by members of the UCL community:
“UCL is renowned for its excellent pastoral care. Don’t let this excellence slide.
The UCL Health Centre has been a complete life-line to me at university. Unlike other doctors surgeries the staff there are understanding of the specific challenges faced by students and provide an excellent service to the student community. The good links between the Health service the other UCLU services and the University has meant thatI’ve been able to access the right services quickly, and as a result have been amazingly supported in the continuation of my studies, despite serious illness.
Without such an efficient well-connected system there is no doubt people in need will fall through the net and suffer the consequences of not having the right support.
Please don’t let us down.”
“As an ex-Head of Department and longtime member of UCL Faculty, I cannot envisage UCL or any other good University without an on-campus student medical facility. It is an essential component of the University care for its students. Its omission from the “Masterplan” is a travesty and betokens a lack of understanding regarding UCL’s function.”
We look forward to your response,
Edwin Clifford-Coupe, Education & Campaigns Officer
Dante Micheaux, Medical & Postgraduate Students’ Officer
Candy Ashmore-Harris, Welfare & International Officer
Natasha Gorodnitski, Ethics, Environment & Operations Officer
Samuel Gaus, Democracy & Communications Officer
Abdul-Ahad Akbari, Student Activities Officer