Uni refused to rearrange an exam for a fresher with blood disease so he could have a transfusion

Hunain Haider asked the uni but at first they said no


A Law fresher, from Pakistan, who suffers from a blood disease was almost forced to choose between having a blood transfusion and sitting an exam, despite asking the university to rearrange his assessment.

Hunain says Newcastle University left him with little choice when they rejected his request, but was saved by his Head of School’s intervention.

He has recently described his struggles with Thalassemia and the way he copes at university. He discussed the struggles of growing up in Pakistan with this condition and the prejudices surrounding disabilities. Coming over to the UK has dramatically improved not only his wellbeing, but also his quality of life. The Tab Newcastle spoke to him about how he feels unsupported by the university.

How have you found moving alone from Pakistan to England?

At first I found it quite strange, and it took me three weeks to adjust my hospital schedule. I was worried if I would be able to adjust to the university life here. I did watch a lot of TV though, which helped me integrate into the culture a bit easier.

How was Newcastle University been in helping you with your condition?

The university hasn’t helped me that much. The disciplinary team have only offered ReCap as a way of catching up with my studies, but obviously, I have my other degree commitments alongside. The Law School has been helpful and more supportive than Newcastle as an institution. The university, I have found, has not been very accommodating. I get the impression that they’re not equipped for long term conditions, and only offer PEC forms only for short term issues. Newcastle have not considered to provide me with extra time during exams, even though I suffer bad headaches and nausea during exams.

Do you believe moving to Newcastle has had a positive impact on you?

During my first year doing a foundation, no as I was adjusting to a new culture, meeting new people and understanding what treatments I was required to take on the doctor’s request. I was subject to discrimination during my first year here mainly because of my appearance due to my condition.
However, this year, I feel the people have been more welcoming, my hospital/university schedule has been tolerable, even though the university has not fully grasped the idea of what adjustments my medical conditions require.

How do your blood transfusions affect your degree?

Transfusions can take six, or up to eight hours. They tire me out, and I don’t have any family present, which can be tough sometimes.

How have you found this with the exam season coming up around the corner?

I amost had to deal with a dilemma over whether I choose my health or my education, as to me it seems the university were making me choose between the two and not giving me much of an alternative. I have blood transfusions every Friday, and my last exam is on this day, and at first the university did not accommodate for this, I was going to have to choose whether to take the exam or get a blood transfusion.

At first his application for changing his date was denied

I applied to change the date of my exam but it was rejected. Luckily, however, thanks to Jennifer Stephens the Head of School, the date has been changed.


How easy has it been to raise awareness about your condition?

Cure2Children aim to find cure for Thalassaemia because so far, only bone marrow transplants and transfusion are available. They help those in poverty with this condition, and there are only a few people who have come in education in the UK with the condition, I’m in the minority. They approached me to offer help and are there to help others. I like to think of myself as a voluntarily ambassador for them, to help raise awareness.

How have you felt in response to the previous article you wrote for The Tab, in which  you revealed your condition to your university friends?

Most have been sympathetic to me and private messaged me with compassionate messages of support.


A Newcastle University spokesperson said: “When Student Progress Service became aware of Hunian’s circumstances, they were able to move his exam. We wish Hunain all the best.”