More than 350 students at Boronia K-12 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.
Boronia K-12 College principal Meagan Cook said the clinic will contribute to the school’s existing student wellbeing programs to help increase health literacy and preventive health.
“As a K-12 College we aim to become a central hub through which families access both education and support services, including health care,” she said.
“The introduction of the Doctors in Secondary School Program has been well received by all members of the Boronia K-12 College community.”
“Our ability to streamline access and connect students and families to vital health services has been enhanced through this onsite program.”
The school is partnering with Boronia Medical Centre, and doctors and a nurse from the clinic will visit the school for up to one day a week.
Dr Chris Davenport and Dr Simone McCallum said we know that young people today face many challenges and access to medical care and counselling is often difficult for them due to transport, finance and time.
“We hope the clinic will allow the students easy access to a GP, in an a relaxed and confidential environment that will allow them to address any medical, social, and psychological issues they may have,” they said.
“GP consultations in the community can be time pressured, so the school clinic will be organised, with the help of our practice nurse, to allow time to properly connect with the students and sort through their problems.”
“It will hopefully allow them to see that a Family GP can be an integral part of a healthy life.”
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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