Doctors In Secondary Schools

Eastern Melbourne PHN (EMPHN) welcomed the announcement of the Doctors in Secondary Schools Initiative by The State Minister for Education, James Merlino.

The initiative funds a new trial for general practitioners (GPs) to attend up to 100 Victorian government secondary schools up to one day a week to provide medical advice and health care to those students who might not have the same access to doctors as others. The is being rolled out over two years.

Clinics have now opened in the following schools in EMPHN's catchment:

  • Upper Yarra Secondary College
  • Whittlesea Secondary College
  • Healesville High School
  • Boronia K-12 College
  • Wallan Secondary College
  • Lalor North Secondary College
  • Charles La Trobe P-12 College- McLeod (shared with North Western Melbourne PHN)
  • Bayswater Secondary
  • Melba Secondary College 
  • Scoresby Secondary College 
  • Yarra Hills Secondary College – Mooroolbark Campus

Other schools in EMPHN's catchment in the pilot:

  • Croydon Community School
  • Wallan Secondary College

We are working with these schools and local GPs as the initiative is rolled out across Melbourne.

The $43.8 million Doctors in Secondary Schools initiative aims to provide school-based health services to 100 Victorian secondary schools most in need. The initiative builds modern clinical facilities onsite at schools, funds a general practitioner (GP) to provide both primary care for students up to one day per week, and contributes to the school’s existing student well-being programs to help increase health literacy and preventive health. An accompanying role for a nurse to work with the GP, particularly in care coordination, is also part of the initiative. Clinics opened in the first 20 schools during term one, 2017. From term three, 2017, 40 more opened, with the final 40 starting from term one, 2018.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • make primary health care more accessible to students and thereby help reduce unmet needs;
  • provide assistance to young people to identify and address any health problems early; and
  • reduce the pressure on working parents and community-based GPs.

The initiative recognises that adolescents are often the lowest users of health care services and can experience significant unmet physical and mental health needs which can affect their engagement with education. Doctors in Secondary Schools makes a valuable contribution towards achieving the Education State school targets for ‘happy, healthy and resilient kids’ by improving ease of access to primary health services for young people.

The Department of Education and Training (DET) works with Victoria’s six PHNs to engage general practices (GP) in their catchments to provide suitably experienced GPs to work with participating schools. PHNs will support the integration of GPs in schools with community-based primary care services, to enable best-practice, patient-centred care. PHNs also work with DET to ensure GPs receive the best quality evidence-based training before starting in the school including ongoing professional development, and debriefing on important health topics GPs encounter within the schools.

For more information, visit the Doctors in Secondary Schools Website.