AMS pushes for extended hours at Student Wellness Services

SWS to keep their doors open longer on Thursdays on a trial basis

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Student Wellness Services (SWS) will be extending their hours for urgent care walk-in clinic services on Thursdays to 7:30 p.m. as a result of advocacy efforts by the AMS.

In October, the AMS issued a survey to inquire about student experiences with SWS services, formerly known as Health, Counseling, and Disability Services (HCDS).

Kyle Beaudry, AMS vice-president (operations), said the AMS has worked to improve medical services for students for the past few years.

“The need hadn’t gone away, and we wanted to make sure that we were getting as much student input as possible, which drove this huge survey that we conducted in the fall,” Beaudry, ArtSci ’16, said.

The survey received over 600 responses. According to an AMS press release, the majority of responses indicated that after-hours care, especially on weekdays, is a priority.

The survey’s questions covered three areas encompassed by SWS: accessibility, counseling and medical services.

“We also collected a lot of data about other schools that are of similar size to Queen’s to make sure that we were not only comparing among the community but also among other universities too,” Beaudry said.

According to an AMS press release, 53 per cent of students surveyed indicated that the hours of operation for the SWS walk-in clinic didn’t meet their needs.

80 per cent of students also suggested in the survey that later hours on weekdays would improve their satisfaction.

Beaudry said it’s the expectation of the AMS that the University will be funding the extra hours.

Beaudry and Alex Chung, AMS social issues commissioner, presented the results of the survey to the University in a call for extended clinic hours.

“[SWS] was actually quite responsive to us in our proposal. They were really willing to work with us from the get-go,” Chung, Arts ’16, said.

So far, SWS has agreed to extend their walk-in clinic hours on Thursday evenings on a trial basis.

“After that we are going to look to Fridays to keep it open as late, as they already do from Monday to Thursday, and then weekends will be our priority,” Chung said.

The clinic currently closes at 3 p.m. on Fridays, which makes it the earliest closing campus clinic in Ontario, according to Beaudry.

“By having hours that are inaccessible to students schedules, I think that kind of defeats the purpose of having a clinic exclusively for students,” Chung said.

“We really think that extended hours will make it easier for students to prioritize their health.”

The AMS intends to follow up on the progress of the initiative at the end of January before taking further action. 

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