The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Manchester University’s sex services given an ‘F’

Manchester University ranks 23rd out of the 24 Russell Group universities in new sexual health league table

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The University of Manchester’s sexual health services have failed to achieve even a ‘third’ in a new report card ranking the 24 Russell Group universities.

The league table, compiled by Dr Ed, an online medical service, places Manchester in 23rd place, just missing the bottom position, with only Cardiff University behind it.

‘Firsts’ were awarded to Nottingham University, who tops the league, Kings College London, and Bristol University.

The report card aims to call attention to the state of sexual health on campuses nationwide by ranking them according to the accessibility of sexual health resources and information available to students.

The 11 categories that each university were graded on included Sexual Health Information on Website, Campus Information, Student Rating and Website Ease of Use, all of which Manchester received a grade ‘F’ for.

The University managed to scrape two ‘B’ grades in their availability of Drop in Sessions and their Contraceptive Access but this failed to save them from not receiving a university classification level.

Manchester University has an Advice Service for sexual health, which is open for five hours a day on weekdays and provides free condoms, panic alarms and pregnancy tests.

They do not have their own sexual health clinic, and the Union website recommends students go to a Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM), Contraceptive or Sexual Health clinic to be tested on a regular basis. The closest to the University is the Hathersage Centre.

When asked what she thought about Manchester’s sexual health services, Teresa Green, a third year History student at the University said: “There isn’t enough information around campus, I didn’t even know Manchester had an Advice Service.

“The Union doesn’t provide much information on sexual health and more information would probably improve sexual health,” she added.

Violet Short, a third year Classics student, agreed. She said: “I suppose they wouldn’t need [their own sexual health centre] if they promoted the Hathersage Centre because it is so big and close to the university, but I haven’t even seen that.”

When asked about the University’s online services both admitted that they had never used them.

“I wouldn’t have thought to look on the university website for sexual health services, that should be better advertised,” said Violet.

Teresa agreed: “I’ve never looked because I didn’t know the university provided sexual health help.”

The Dr Ed website agrees that promotion of sexual health issues is a problem across many university campuses and says that student welfare officers, who helped with their research, reported that leaflets and posters promoting sexual health issues were often poor or not available at all.

The National Union of Students Vice President Pete Mercer said that this new report card may help to encourage universities to improve the services on offer to students and to address areas where there is room for improvement.

“Although it probably won’t be a driving factor when choosing a university, this is just the sort of information that should be at a student’s fingertips,” he said.

“If nothing else, hopefully the Dr Ed report card will increase awareness of student sexual issues and encourage universities to both take them more seriously and to learn from the best examples already in existence,” he added.