Cardiff University Ranks Worst In UK For Student Sexual Health Services


When it comes to sexual health, Cardiff students can expect the worst from their university, according to a new report.

Cardiff University came last in a sexual health league of Russell Group universities, which were graded on categories including services, on-campus information and student satisfaction.

The report, published on Thursday, also revealed that some students faced a 'postcode lottery'.

Compiled by DrEd, an online doctor service, the results were revealed after student welfare representatives provided details of the sexual health facilities offered by universities. Many reported that information on campus was "weak or non-existent", with some students being told access to services would depend on their postcode.

"If we lived in certain postcodes, we could access the university health centre facilities, but on other occasions we were told we would have to go to the local GUM clinic," DrEd's clinical consultant Dr Jasper Mordhorst says.

"Providing a standardised sexual health service to all students would seem like a great step forward."

Around 10% of under 25-year-olds carry the chlamydia disease, which remains the number one reason women cannot conceive in later life.

"Universities are in a prime position to communicate, educate and encourage testing, and should focus on making sexual health services easy to access, multi-cultural and educational," Mordhorst adds. "Young people tend to change partners much more than other age groups, so transmission rates of STI's are much higher."

The research revealed universities at the bottom of the "report card" often had off-campus sexual health services, with limited opening times.

"Across the board, information on websites regarding STI's and how to obtain treatment was weak and difficult to find," Mordhorst continues, "and there was limited advertising around campus of sexual health issues."

A spokesperson for Cardiff told HuffPost UK: "Cardiff University takes the matter of its students’ health very seriously - sexual health is no exception.

"We have reviewed the report in question and consider its findings inaccurate. The organisation that carried out this study has been contacted and we hope the full scope of our comprehensive sexual health services will be considered in a revised report."

Rivals Oxford and Cambridge ranked 13th and fifth respectively, while Nottingham topped the table.

Pete Mercer, the National Union of Students' vice president, said the report card may encourage universities to improve the services on offer to students and to address areas where there is room for improvement.

He added: "Although it probably won't be a driving factor when choosing university, this is just the sort of information that should be at students' fingertips.

"The level of consistency in sexual health services is already a concern, particularly given recent sweeping changes in local health provision, and this gives all the more impetus to developing partnership and campaigning work to prevent a postcode lottery in the provision of what are vitally important services to the student community.

"If nothing else, hopefully the DrEd report card will increase awareness of student sexual health issues and encourage universities to both take them more seriously and to learn from the best examples already in existence."

Anatole Menon-Johansson, clinical director at young people's sexual health charity Brook, added: "I think developing a comprehensive scorecard will be a useful way to improve quality in sexual & reproductive health services for students across the UK."

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