University sexual health clinic to be closed permanently

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The Student Wellness Centre on Penglais Hill was the planned home for the re-located sexual health clinic

ABERYSTWYTH University’s sexual health clinic is to remain closed, it was revealed in a Community Health Council meeting held in Waunfawr last Friday, 11th January.

Hywel Dda Health Board supplied the clinic to the University, which provided a drop-in session for students once a week, as well as support and other services.

The clinic, which was situated in the Cledwyn building on Penglais campus, was to be re-located to the Student Wellness Centre, connected to Padarn Surgery on Penglais Hill. It was “temporarily suspended” in September last year due to “staff shortages”. Low usage statistics have also been cited as a reason for the closure.

However, Students’ Union Student Support Officer Laura Dickens told Aber Student Media that, when asking students to sign a petition against the closure, she found that many students did not know that the service existed.

Dickens also revealed that no notice of the Community Health Council meeting had been given to the Students’ Union and, as such, no student representative was aware the announcement of the closure.

The information came “at a quiet time of year when students are focusing on exams,” Dickens states. “What annoys me the most is that [Hywel Dda] haven’t consulted with the students at all, and haven’t been clear on their intentions. I hope that they have sent us a breakdown of what services we can access where, and how the services the clinic provided will be replaced.”

Dickens added that “A lot of unnecessary pressure will now be put on North Road clinic, whose appointments already fill up quickly.”

With the closure of the University’s sexual health clinic, the clinic on North Road is the only remaining sexual health specialist in Aberystwyth. Open to the public and students, North Road clinic provides two GUM clinic sessions a week, but will refer patients to Aberaeron and Lampeter, the next nearest specialist locations available, if needed.

Following the announcement of permanent closure, Dickens has re-launched the student petition. It is available to sign here.