More than 250 students at Scoresby Secondary School and Bayswater Secondary School can see a doctor for free at dedicated clinics located in the schools 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.
Bayswater Secondary School is partnering with Knox Medical in Bayswater, and a doctor and a nurse from the clinic will visit the school for up to one day a week.
Knox Medical Practice Manager, Anne Tannock, said, “We believe that making primary healthcare more accessible to students and assisting young people to identify and address health problems early, will enable these young people to reach their full potential."
"The whole community benefits,” she said.
Scoresby Secondary College principal, Gail Major, said, “The initiative will make primary health care more accessible for students and by supporting their wellbeing students will be able to engage in their learning”.
A doctor and nurse from Boronia Medical in Boronia will visit Scoresby Secondary School for up to one day a week.
Boronia Medical Practice Manager, Majella Beagley said, "It is exciting to be part of an education program for students to build relationships with GPs and nurses."
"This program empowers students to take control of their own health and in turn improve health literacy,” she 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.
Eastern Melbourne PHN is a Primary Health Network funded by the Australian Government to improve the care and support people receive from health services. We invest in a range of initiatives to make a difference in areas including mental health, chronic disease, after-hours healthcare, and alcohol and other drugs. www.emphn.org.au