More than 500 students at Melba Secondary School can see a doctor for free at a dedicated clinic located in the school as part of the Victorian Government’s Doctors in Secondary Schools program.
The school is one of 12 throughout Eastern Melbourne PHN’s (EMPHN) catchment to benefit from the Victorian Department of Education and Training’s Doctors in Secondary Schools program, run in partnership with Victoria’s six PHNs (Primary Health Networks).
EMPHN CEO, Robin Whyte, said the Doctors in Secondary Schools program aims to make health care more accessible to students during what can be a particularly challenging and stressful time of their lives.
“Identifying and addressing physical and mental health issues early before they affect their studies, and building trust between young people and GPs, makes for a smoother transition from young person to adult,” she said.
Melba Secondary School principal, Terry Bennett, said the entire school community will benefit from having access to this initiative.
“Having a GP on campus will make accessing primary care much easier for many of our students,” he said.
“The Victorian Government’s Doctors in Secondary Schools program is a wonderful initiative that will assist in ensuring the health and wellbeing of our young people is given the highest priority”
The school is partnering with Eastbrooke Medical in Doncaster, and a doctor and a nurse from the clinic will visit the school for up to one day a week.
Eastbrooke Medical Practice Manager, Andrea Gill, said young people today face many challenges and access to medical care and counselling is often difficult for them due to transport, finance and time.
“Eastbrooke are very happy to work in conjunction with the PHN in providing health care in the community,” Andrea said.
The 2016/17 Victorian Budget provided $43.8 million for Doctors in Secondary Schools. Under the program $25.8 million will go to recruiting and training GPs as well as staffing and operational costs, while a further $18 million to build modern clinical facilities on the school grounds.