Blog: Freeing Up 33% Of Health Centre Appointments

Did you know that almost one-third of doctors' appointments at the Health Centre on campus are taken up by requests for letters? Well, we're going to fix that.

At the beginning of this academic year, I responded to students’ petition to improve the Health Centre we have on campus with two blog posts: Your Health Care Matters and Let's Talk About Sex Baby.

When I met with senior doctors at the Health Centre to discuss students’ concerns, which included long waiting periods for appointments, it became obvious to me that the doctors share the same frustrations. The reason for the long wait? Largely it is down to the fact that one in three appointments are made by students seeking evidence for health conditions so as to secure an extension to an assessment deadline.

We know that academic departments have also been encouraging students to provide evidence for their assignment extension requests. This has negatively impacted the Health Centre’s ability to deliver medical help to students who are in desperate need to see a doctor.

After discussions with Professor Bob O’Keefe (Vice Principal, Student Experience), we have decided to introduce a self-certification extension policy which will streamline the process for students to extend their assignment deadlines.

Professor Bob O’Keefe (Vice Principal, Student Experience) presenting the policy at Academic Board for approval.


The new extensions policy will allow students on taught programmes to self-certify extensions of five working days, while requests for a ten-day extensions will be possible when adequate evidence is provided. Each student will be limited to two self-certifications per academic year.

This policy acknowledges that, while all students are expected to manage their time appropriately and submit their assignments by the deadlines which they have been given, sometimes things don’t always go according to plan.

If a student is experiencing any short-term unforeseeable or unpreventable circumstance which makes it impossible to meet their assignment deadlines, they can submit an extension request to extend the coursework assessment deadline.

However, it is important to note that not all circumstances can be self-certified. The self-certification policy also does not guarantee that the student’s extension application will be automatically approved.

Students who are experiencing long-term circumstances are also encouraged to contact their personal tutor and seek guidance from the College’s support services, such as Disability & Dyslexia Services (DDS) and Wellbeing.


Over the summer, IT Services will work on getting the online extensions system up to scratch in time for the 2018/19 academic year.

I will be working closely with the College to develop a list of situations where self-certification will and will not be considered.


It’s a win-win scenario!

The new extensions policy will not only free up appointments at the Health Centre for all students, but also standardise the length of extensions across each department and degree programme, making joint-honours students’ lives much easier.

As always, feel free to contact me with ideas or questions via email or Facebook.