Oxford boys flood A&E

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A report by Healthwatch Oxfordshire has found that more than 20 per cent of male Oxford students have used A&E during their time at University, compared with as little as nine per cent of the general public.

Healthwatch Oxfordshire’s report also stated that some students had serious concerns with mental health provisioning in Oxford.

A first-year medic described a college bop in which a student had to visit the John Radcliffe hospital after he “sliced his finger open on a door”.

The report makes recommendations such as improving the effectiveness of the 111 phone service, which helps students assess whether they need to visit A&E, and is used to deal with more minor complaints. It encourages students to explore  the range of alternative services that are available to students, including college nurses and doctors, and GP services.

It also found widespread concerns that mental health issues among Oxford students are not effectively dealt with. There were concerns that students anticipated stigma surrounding these issues, and that 25 per cent of students feared the “judgement of healthcare professionals”.

Radhika Seth, University-wide coordinator for the ‘Mind Your Head’ campaign, commented on these finding, saying: “I’d say the perception of mental health issues is still a big problem at Oxford, because especially in a really academically rigorous environment seeking help can sometimes be seen as caving under pressure.

“It’s a problem which most people are reluctant to talk about anyway, and coupled with pressure from tutors/pressure to perform as well as your peers, it’s often just seen as weakness. Most counsellors are sympathetic, but particularly in Oxford I think the issue is addressed primarily in relation to academic performance/mental health affecting this, and that needs to change.”

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