More than 830 students at Whittlesea Secondary College can 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.
Whittlesea Secondary College principal Terry Twomey said the clinic will contribute to the school’s existing student wellbeing programs to help increase health literacy and preventive health.
“The pressures on young people these days are significant, and the Doctors in Secondary Schools program will provide vital information and assurance to support our young people as they navigate the highs and lows of being teenagers,” he said.
“We are grateful for the partnership, and look forward to positive impacts on student health and learning.”
The school is partnering with Whittlessea Medical Clinic, and doctors and a nurse from the clinic will visit the school for up to one day a week.
Whittlessea Medical Clinic’s Dr Melissa Garbutt said we know that young people today face a great many challenges.
“Our clinic is proud to work with the local school community to provide medical care to those students most in need.
“By optimising access to health care, we hope this translates to early identification and management of health issues in our students,” 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.
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