Underfunding may force Trinity health centre to introduce fee

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) may follow in DCU’s footsteps and introduce a fee for their on-campus health centre.

If introduced, the fee would most likely help combat underfunding and staff shortages. Currently, TCD has one full-time GP for every 5,312 students; a figure that was 4,032 students in 2006.

Demand for GPs has caused waiting times to increase from “two and a half days in 2006, to almost two weeks in 2013,” said David McGrath, Director of the College Health Service. Speaking to TCD’s The University Times, McGrath said “we have always resisted charging for the basic consultation, but in the wake of our fellow universities going down this road, it is difficult to see how we can avoid the imposition of a charge.”

Students reacted positively to the proposal, suggesting that they wouldn’t mind paying the charge, especially if it could reduce waiting times.

“It seems pretty reasonable if we’re only paying €10 for it, I would have said, considering it’s a solid €60 anywhere else,” one student told The University Times. Commenting on the current situation, he continued “I know from my very limited experience the place was so understaffed and Trinity has so many students … that the waiting times just made the whole thing unfeasible.”

TCD’s health centre was built to serve 10,000 people 25 years ago. It currently has over 20,000 students and staff using its facilities. The new charge would be similar to DCU’s €20 GP consultation fee.

TCDSU was unavailable to comment on the proposal.

Mark Hogan

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