More than 600 students at Wallan Secondary College can now see a doctor free within 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.
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 health issues early before they affect their studies, and building trust and rapport between young people and GPs, makes for a smoother transition from young person to adult,” she said.
Wallan Secondary College principal, Sally Lasslett, said the clinic will contribute to the school’s existing student wellbeing programs to help increase health literacy and preventive health.
“It is exciting to add another excellent resource for our young people to the already growing College and building projects,” she said.
The school is partnering with the Nexus Primary Health Clinic in Wallan, and doctors and a nurse from the clinic will visit the school for up to one day a week.
Nexus GP services manager, Laura Colliver, said we know that young people today face many challenges
and access to medical care and counselling can help contribute to better health and education outcomes.
“I welcome the opportunity for Nexus to participate in this initiative because it has the capacity to bring prevention and treatment to all students,” she said.
“By having students meet doctors and nurses, it will also establish clear youth-friendly links to health care professionals that can also support young people outside of school hours if required.”
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.
EMPHN works to improve the wellbeing of its community, particularly for those at risk of poor health outcomes, by improving coordination of care and ensuring patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time. EMPHN works across an area of 3,956 km² comprising a population of more than 1.5 million people. www.emphn.org.au
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