Life at Merton: Health & Welfare

The Welfare Team

Welfare at Merton is provided by the Chaplain, three Junior Deans for Welfare, and the College Nurse; they are happy to meet with any student on a one-to-one basis to discuss any issue at any time.

The Chaplain is available to talk to all members of College, regardless of religious affiliation. He co-ordinates the welfare provision at Merton and chairs the Student Support Sub-Committee, which assists students with a range of grants, including support for sporting and musical activities, travel, and in situations where students find themselves in financial difficulty.  

The Junior Deans for Welfare are graduate students employed by the college to be a first point of contact for welfare advice and to liaise with Fellows and students on welfare matters. They organise a variety of fun, stress-relieving activities throughout the year, including free yoga classes, tea and cake, and environmental projects. They also run regular events open to all, such as trips to Thirsty Meeples (Oxford’s board game café). 

The College Nurse holds a general surgery every weekday during term and offers welfare support and medical help and advice to all members of college.

In addition, the JCR and MCR each elect two Welfare Representatives to assist students, and a team of students are trained as Peer Supporters (trained in listening and communication skills). These include the JCR Access and Equality Rep, Gender Equality Rep, LGBTQ+ Rep, and BME Students Rep.

Medical and Dental

The College Doctor and his partners have their surgery at the Jericho Health Centre, New Radcliffe House, Walton Street, Oxford, OX2 6NW.

One of the College GPs is also usually available for consultation in Merton’s surgery on Tuesday mornings, during term-time. Merton students are also able to access the College Surgery at Oriel College on Thursday mornings.

There are several dental practices in Oxford which are open to University students.

For students who will need a visa to study in the UK (non-EEA nationals), information about the UK government’s immigration health surcharge can be found at www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application. For courses lasting six months or more this allows access to NHS treatment on the same basis as a resident.

Immigration health surcharge for non-EEA nationals

This charge was introduced on 6 April 2015 for students and other visa applicants coming to the UK for more than six months, applying for a new visa or extending a current visa. The charge, payable at the time of the visa application, is £150 per year or part year of more than six months, plus £75 for a part year of six months or less. The charge must also be paid for any dependants. Students coming for courses of six months or more will still be able to access NHS treatment on the same basis as a resident, but for those to whom it applies, only if they have paid the health surcharge.

Equal Opportunities

Merton is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all members with disabilities and/or additional needs and it is always keen to hear how its provision could be improved.

The College’s help can be wide-ranging, including:

  • Meeting special dietary requirements
  • Fulfilling particular accommodation needs
  • Identifying sources of financial assistance
  • Communicating information to the appropriate teaching staff
  • Accessing specialist assessment for specific learning difficulties
  • Requesting special examination arrangements, such as extra time and computer facilities, from the Proctors
  • Enabling access to material held in the Library.
  • Liaising with departmental and faculty Disability Officers

Read Merton's Single Equality Scheme.

Transgender and Gender Identity

A supportive and inclusive community, Merton is committed to the University's Transgender Guidance and Policy. The first point of contact for a student wanting to come out as trans at College is the Senior Tutor. Other members of staff, such as the Welfare Team or Academic Registrar, can also be approached in the first instance.

We acknowledge that some students may have concerns about coming out as trans—perhaps regarding the people at home finding out, or about visas if they are an international student—and we can certainly be flexible in coming to arrangements on such issues if they are raised. Students requiring time away from their studies for medical reasons should feel free to mention this to us so that options for deferral and/or suspension can be discussed.

All conversations regarding this process will be handled sensitively and respectfully. Merton staff attended training on trans issues given by Gendered Intelligence in June 2018. The group included key staff members from the Lodge, Academic Office, Warden's Office, Finance and Domestic Bursaries, Library, Welfare Team, Development Office, and HR, along with a number of Governing Body Fellows.

Further information about university-wide policy and welfare provision for students who want to transition is available on the University’s LGBTQ Society website.

Podcasts: Student Life at Oxford

A series of short talks and presentations with advice on how to get the most out of life as a student in Oxford are available from the University's podcast site or iTunesU.