St. George's Students' Union

You TubeTwitter Facebook Review your basket
Give us your feedback   

Suggest an 'ask deborah' question here
ASK Deborah Advice Columns:

Time Management in Show Seasons

Gap Year Preparation for Medical Degree

Semester 1 Exam Result Worries


Many moons ago, our friends in the Registry conducted a survey and found that in the first term 26% of first year students were worried about their health, with approximately half saying they were feeling tired, run down and stressed out. With so many other things to think about it is all too easy to neglect your health during the first year. Sparing a little time and TLC for your brain and body will pay dividends in the long run.

It is a good idea to get organised and register with a local GP and dentist as soon as you arrive in Tooting. It is not a good idea to leave it until you get ill because you won’t be wanting to deal with all the paperwork when you feel like death. In the worst case scenario you could find yourself needing to call a doctor in the middle of the night in an emergency and suddenly realising you have nobody to call.

To register, it helps to take the address of your doctor at home and your medical card, but you can sign up without these.


The Student Wellness Clinic

The recently initiated Student Wellness clinic at St George’s University of London, offers students an opportunity to develop their physical, emotional and spiritual resilience. The consultations are confidential and free of cost.

Dr. Prasad offers a 60 minute consult, teaching key aspects of wellbeing that incorporate stress management and resiliency training using the SMART program. This is a structured, evidence-based training program developed at Mayo Clinic in the United States, designed to decrease symptoms related to stress and anxiety. Techniques incorporated in the program include a focus on ‘heartfulness’ with key concepts of gratitude, compassion, mindfulness and meditation.

Clinics are held every Thursday morning. If you wish to learn more about how to maintain wellbeing, you may book a consult directly via the link:


Click on the tabs below for more details:

Going To A&E?

There are many rumours that fly around George's regarding what happens if you go to A&E. Whether the reason for attending is related to alcohol or not, the following statements apply:

  1. If you are a patient, your attendance will be confidential.  No one will tell the university anything, even if you happen to be intoxicated.

  2. If you are a patient you will be treated the same as any other patient; neither better (including being treated quicker) nor worse

Your Students' Union and the A&E department have agreed and produced a document to outline the above points in more detail. Please click here for the Students in Emergency Department protocol.

Prescription Charges:

Sadly, as a student over 19 years of age, you are no longer entitled to automatic free prescriptions, sight tests, dental checks etc.

However the NHS low income scheme may be able to help if your annual income is £8000 or less. To find out whether this scheme can help you pick up an HC1 form (Claim for help with health costs) from Vice President (Education & Welfare) in the SU offices or at any Social Security office or NHS hospital. Your doctor, dentist or optician might have one too. The information you supply will then be assessed and you may then be issued with certificate HC2 for full help or HC3 for partial help.

If you have already paid for something you may be able to claim a refund using the refund claim form HC5.

If you need a lot of prescriptions etc. it is definitely worth tracking down these forms and taking the time to fill them in as it all adds up and for most of us poverty stricken students, every penny counts. Try thinking of it in terms of how many mars bars or pints of beer you could buy with the money you save!


Again: don’t neglect your eyes (they are quite useful, after all) - get them checked if you are at all concerned about your sight. You can get free eye tests and vouchers for lenses with a HC1 form if you have a low income.

Staff/Student Occupational Health Service:

There is a Staff/Student Occupational Health Service (located on the perimeter road next to the Sports Centre). The service is available from 8.30am-2.30pm Monday to Friday by appointment, or 2.30pm-5pm for emergencies only. Contact: 020 8725 1661

Occupational Health deal with health issues you may encounter while studying or undertaking clinical work: needle stick injury, for example. If you have a medical problem that might affect your studies then Occupational Health may be able to help, by making sure you get the best treatment and by notifying Registry and writing letters explaining your situation.

Staff from the Occupational Health Service also give students occupational health checks on registration. They will also arrange for you to have any immunisations you need—Hepatitis B or Tuberculosis, for example—in your first year, and provide you with certificates confirming that you’ve been vaccinated.
Remember to keep these certificates safe, as many hospitals may ask for proof of immunity before you’re allowed to undertake clinical study there in later years, and you may be charged for a replacement.
Please note that if you need vaccinations before traveling abroad you will have to have these done at your GP—Occupational Health doesn’t provide this service.


Releases the happy hormones. So get moving because despite us being a small Institution, there’s no shortage of opportunities. The Rob Lowe sports centre is an absolute bargain, at £65 for a year using the facilities which include a weights room, various exercise machines, squash courts and a sports hall which our sports clubs use and where a variety of classes also take place.

To join up just go to the Rob Lowe sports centre to pay where they will take your photo and issue you with a card. There are very strict rules on entering the gym: if caught without a membership you will be asked to leave and that’s final. If you refuse or are rude to the staff, disciplinary action may be taken against you.


Let’s be honest, university, for many, is a hotbed for alcohol consumption. For lot's of those who enjoy a drink at university, it's just that, an enjoyable experience; social drinks with friends in bars and clubs can allow you to have a fun packed night out. BUT with all good things come their limitations and for some, drinking to excess leads to disorientation, lowered inhibitions, awful hangovers and, in extreme cases, dependence.

 Do I have a problem?

This is a question only you can answer. However, if you are at all worried, there are ways you can address your concern. The Counsellors are available to talk to, but if you want to find out some info privately, try calling Alcoholics Anonymous (24 hour helpline 0845 769 7555). There is also the option of speaking to Drinkline - If you're worried about drinking, whether it's your own habit or someone else's. If you are struggling and don’t know where to turn the Students’ Union officers can help, and want to. Healthcare professionals are at a much greater risk of suffering from alcohol related problems, and healthcare students are no exception so don't worry away in silence.


Illegal drugs are illegal! The use of illicit substances is strictly forbidden within the medical school. You using them can jeopardise the Bar, Students’ Union, and all things that you will hold close to your hearts over your time at Georges. Use on School premises can lead to a life time ban from the Students’ Union facilities and possible involvement of the authorities.

The Institution regards the use or dealing of drugs as a possible reason for expulsion from your course. Having said this, they are willing to advise and support any student who seeks help for their substance abuse. If you ever find yourself needing help, do not hesitate to seek it - the counsellors can advise you, as can occupational health so that you can find a way to resolve your problems.

Often considered a ‘safe’ drug in the past, the dangers of cannabis are becoming clearer over time, and it has been shown that there is a significant link with its use and the onset of psychosis. If you or someone you know does use this drug, keep an eye out and be careful.

The best advice, if you must use drugs, Do not bring them anywhere near the medical school.

Certainly the student union has no desire to dictate to its members how they should conduct their lives in private. You are all highly intelligent adults.

The Students’ Union does not want to patronise you by telling you everything you (hopefully) already know about the dangers of drug taking etc. Make your own choices. Never allow yourself to be pressured into anything and if you do choose to use, make sure you know the score.

Alternatively for friendly, confidential advice you can talk to FRANK .

Smoking is bad for your health, there is no avoiding that fact! But just because you are a smoker does not mean that you are a bad person and not worthy to be a doctor, nurse, physio etc...

If you do smoke we would ask that you be considerate of those students who don’t and try not to blow smoke in their face...

Smoking is not permitted anywhere onsite at any time. The Student Union Exec are very concerned about the safety implications for our smoking students should they be forced to leave the entire site, especially at night, to go for a cigarette.

We recommend that should you need to leave the building to smoke during unsociable hours, you do not go alone.

For advice on quitting contact the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0800 169 0 169, or visit NHS Smokefree.

Depression can affect anyone at any age. 1 in 10 people suffer from depression each year, with 1 in 4 of us experiencing it first-hand at some point in our lifetime. It is an illness in which there is persistent sadness, which interferes with everyday life, causing a variety of physical and psychological symptoms. Everyone’s experience of depression is different, as no one has the same life experiences or personal problems.

In the most severe cases depression can lead to suicide, with 4000 people each year taking their own lives as a result of this condition. However it can be treated successfully and there are many sources of help available.

Treatment may include:

  • Counselling or psychotherapy is most effective in minor to moderate depression.

  • Exercise and relaxation techniques (see stress/anxiety section)

  • Self-help - wanting to get better and taking positive steps to do so such as reading books about depression or joining a self-help group is more likely to result in success.

  • Anti-depressant medications are not addictive and can be taken safely over periods of time. They may be prescribed by your GP.

Where to go next...

You need not be alone - talk to people! If you do not feel that speaking to your friends is helpful, make an appointment with the counsellors, your personal tutor or the Vice President (Education & Welfare).

SGUL is affiliated with Nightline, a confidential telephone/ e-mail listening service: 0207 631 0101 and