The University Counselling Service is currently advertising for a further additional full-time post in efforts to decrease waiting timesStanley Howe/Geograph

Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope has today (19/03) confirmed in a correction email that the current waiting time for an appointment at the University Counselling Service (UCS) is 4-5 weeks.

This comes as he claimed in an email yesterday (18/03) that “despite rumours about delays”, the current waiting time for an appointment at the UCS was two weeks, “the same as they were at the end of Lent term last year.”

Toope’s email yesterday (18/03) marked a year since the University first moved into the “highest level of contingency planning in response to the pandemic”, and contradicted information on the UCS website which states that the current waiting time is 4-5 weeks.

Today’s correction email (19/03) further notes that the UCS currently has two additional full-time counselling posts as it makes “every effort to decrease waiting times”, and is in the process of advertising for another additional full-time post. It adds that “all counselling referrals are triaged, with the most urgent referrals prioritised.”


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A University spokesperson told Varsity that they are “making every effort to decrease waiting times, including additional recruitment to fill vacancies in the Student Counselling Service.”

Meanwhile Alice Gilderdale, Welfare and Community Officer for the Cambridge SU, said: “When the Vice Chancellor doesn’t even have the facts straight on counselling waiting times, it’s no surprise that the University can’t get a grip on the underfunding of student support services.”

They continued: “We were pleased to see the University correct the false information in a student email yesterday to clarify that UCS times are currently 4-5 weeks, and hopeful that this realisation will lead to some action to tackle the problem. As an SU, we have been campaigning for increased mental health provision, not just within the UCS, but across the Collegiate University. While there is such a discrepancy between collegiate provision, and while the UCS waiting times remain so long, we believe the University is not fulfilling its duty of care towards its students.”

Varsity has contacted the University Counselling Service for comment.