Free GP service now available for third level students

Elsa McEvoy

VideoDoc Bein used. image credit: RTE

New VideoDoc initiative does not cater for those seeking help for mental health despite students waiting up to 6 weeks for one to one counselling.

Third level students now have access to free GP care after Ireland’s leading digital healthcare provider, VideoDoc teamed up with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) earlier this month.

VideoDoc is a subscription based online GP service which normally costs €20 per consultation with a registered GP but is currently available free of charge to students from Monday to Sunday between the hours of 8am and 10pm.

However, despite alleviating the pressure of health services on campus, VideoDoc does not offer help to those seeking help for mental health issues despite students waiting up to 6 weeks for one to one counselling on campus.

USI president Michael Kerrigan said that “VideoDoc is a GP Service with no immediate plans to roll out a mental health service”.

“However, GP Doctors are often the first point of contact for mental health issues,” he said.

DCU’s Vice President for Equality and Welfare, Podge Henry said that there are more students opening up about their mental health which in turn calls for a need of more resources to deal with this increase.

“We did have a peer to peer volunteer video counselling initiative last year which didn’t gain as much traction as we would’ve liked,” explained Henry on how the SU is dealing with this lack of resources.

“But those kind of initiatives are great because they take the strain off the counselling services,” he said.

Speaking at the launch of the free online GP service for students, CEO and co-founder of VideoDoc, Mary O’Brien said, “Our experience of general practice is that about 70 per cent of all GP visits can be treated online. Students who need to see a Doctor but are far from their family GP, or too busy to attend a surgery between regular 9 – 5 working hours can now log on from anywhere and be treated within minutes.”

“VideoDoc is delighted to make this service free of charge for the next 5 months to the USI to celebrate Healthy Living Week with a view to becoming part of the everyday health solution for students,” she said.