More than 400 students at Lalor North Secondary School 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 form young person to adult,” she said.
Lalor North Secondary School principal, John Conway said the clinic will add value to the school’s established student wellbeing programs to help improve the health of students along with their health literacy and preventive health.
"Students at the college will now have access to first class medical treatment with minimal disruption to their learning," he said.
The school is partnering with Plenty Road Medical in Bundoora, and doctors and a nurse from the clinic will visit the school for up to one day a week.
Janelle Semple, Plenty Road Medical oractice manager, 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.
"Through the Drs in Schools program, we are able to provide access to quality healthcare for young people, something that they may not have had available to them otherwise," 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.
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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