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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 11. August 12, 1954

First Steps Towards V.U.C. Health Scheme

First Steps Towards V.U.C. Health Scheme

A Rising from the motion at the 1953 August Council Meeting of N.Z.U.S.A., Des Dalgety presented report on the desirability of Student Health Schemes to the Easier meeting and, following that, all College Councils, in Colleges where there was no health scheme, were asked to investigate the matter. The preliminary investigation at Victoria was recently completed by a sub-committee of the Council, consisting of Drs. Stout and Lynch, Dr. Williams and the student representative, Mr. M. J. O'Brien. The last meeting of the Council adopted most of the sub-committee's recommendations.

The daily Press reports may have led some people to think that a full medical scheme will be forthwith Implemented at Victoria or that the essence of such a scheme is a compulsory or voluntary examination on entry to the University. Both of these conclusions are incorrect. In the first place, nothing in the way or a full scheme can be implemented at V.U.C. until there is accommodation available to provide some sort of waiting and consulting rooms for the medical officer. Those facilities are Just not available at the moment. However, the Council haa to mind to seek finance to obtain suitable premises when they become available.

The second conclusion is also incorrect because the preliminary examination is only a small, and not necessarily essential, part of a medical scheme. The sub-committee felt that this examination would provide some incentive to encourage students to think of their health problems and that, in the event of a medical officer being appointed, he would have material on which to analyse trends in student health as well as have the necessary records for consultations when students later came to him. Each freshman student will be asked, but not compelled, to supply a medical report and a chest X-ray on entering the University. The form to be completed by the student's medical practitioner (paid for by Social Security) would be one supplied by the College. The Council will proceed with this recommendation whether or not the other recommendations can be implemented in the near future.

Eventually, the Council proposes that a medical officer be appointed, that he attend in the University In a part-time capacity for such periods an may be agreed on and that he be paid on the basis of a payment for session of attendance. His salary, and that of any nurse-receptionist would be met from a contribution from the Social Security General Medical Services Fund. Prom this, it is likely that a per capita contribution of £1 for each person enrolled in the scheme would be made.

Duties of M.O.

The duties of any medical officer would be to provide preventive services, limited general practitioner services, and services connected with the mental health of students. He would co-operate with the Physical Education Officer and the staff in these matters.

This is a brief outline of what is proposed at this College. What has next to be done is to obtain Health Department approval for the scheme and to endeavour to get finance assured both for the provision of a medical officer and for the facilities that he would need. For the first time since health schemed were first mooted at this College over 10 years ago there is now a chance that something might, be done. Students should be encouraged to take advantage of the services if and when it comes and, in the meantime, should encourage all freshmen from next year on to present a medical report as requested by the College.