Students raise privacy concerns with emergency Health Centre appointments

Students are required to provide personal details in public area

Students have raised concerns with emergency appointments in the College Health Centre, citing a lack of privacy in making the appointment.

Students have expressed disappointment with the process of making the appointment at the Health Centre, which involves giving personal details including name and reason for the appointment in public at the reception.

Speaking to Trinity News, a Drama Studies and Music student outlined that on two separate experiences visiting the clinic during emergency hours: “I’ve queued at the desk to present my student card, have been asked for my name and date of birth, and then asked ‘what’s wrong’.”

“This is in the waiting room with lots of other students who are also there for emergency appointments and having to speak quite loud as the desk is in a separate office,” the student explained.

“I’ve never contested this or seen it contested, out of not wanting to cause a scene I suppose, but I think this in itself breaks a boundary of confidentiality,” they continued.

The College Health Centre offers emergency appointments at 9am and 2pm to students who do not have a prior appointment.

A Music student similarly reported being asked their “name, student number, date of birth” and the reason for the appointment. “Looking back, it’s ridiculous that they’re straight out asking what’s wrong in front of everyone,” the student said.

“It has really deterred me from going back to the emergency appointments,” the Music student said.

Medisec, a group of General Practitioners in Ireland, outlines that “standards of confidentiality apply to all health professionals, students, administrative, and ancillary staff including receptionists, secretaries, practice managers, and cleaners”.

Medisec advises practices to “be mindful of room design such as proximity of waiting room to reception” in order to avoid “inadvertent overheard disclosures”.

Speaking to Trinity News, a Film student explained that “when you get to the receptionist you have to say your name, student card and have to say why you’re in, it is super uncomfortable as the people in line are only a metre away or so”.

“It can be very daunting, especially if you are in for something very personal,” the student said.

The Film student noted they were “super grateful to have a free healthcare service in Trinity and for the appointments” and that staff are “usually very nice,” but that the procedure for getting an emergency appointment “needs to be much more private”.

Additionally, the Film student explained that to obtain an emergency appointment, “you have to be there at least an hour beforehand, a lot of the time waiting outside in the cold”.

The Health Service states that “arriving early is advised as demand is heavy” for the emergency appointments.

The Health Service did not respond to a request for comment at the time of the publication.

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland was the Editor of the 67th volume of Trinity News. She is an English Literature and Sociology graduate and previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.