Student health and wellbeing in Victorian schools is getting more support than ever thanks to the Allan Labor Government, with the Doctors in Secondary Schools program today hitting a significant milestone.
Minister for Education Ben Carroll today visited Hume Central Secondary College in Broadmeadows to celebrate the initiative delivering more than 72,000 consultations across Victoria to students since it began operating in 2017 – giving students quality healthcare in a convenient and familiar environment.
The Labor Government has provided $113.5 million since 2016 to roll the program out across 100 government secondary schools in areas experiencing disadvantage and vulnerability, making sure all students across the state have access to the care and support they need to thrive.
The Doctors in Secondary Schools program makes primary health care more accessible to students while helping young people identify and address health problems early, while also reducing the pressure of health care access and costs on families.
The initiative has delivered more than 700 student consultations at Hume Central Secondary College since 2018.
The program provides General Practitioners (GPs) and Practice Nurses (PNs) trained in adolescent health up to one day a week to give free medical advice and health care to students in special purpose consulting rooms at schools. Any student enrolled in participating schools can make an appointment with the GP.
Adolescents have some of the lowest GP attendance rates nation-wide, with many missing out on vital healthcare due to difficulties in accessing services – especially those who are socially disadvantaged or live in regional areas. This program helps remove those barriers and give students confidence when accessing healthcare services.
25 schools taking part in the program are in Melbourne’s growth areas and the urban fringe – helping meet demand for services created by Victoria’s unprecedented population growth.
Mental health has been identified as the primary reason for visits to the GP through the program, making up 47 per cent of consultations since 2017. The delivery of primary health care to students through the Doctors in Secondary Schools program enables mental health care plans to be developed and referrals made to support services.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Ben Carroll
“Promoting student health, wellbeing and inclusion through the Doctors in Schools program makes it so much easier for young Victorians to access the healthcare and support they need to thrive.”
“We know that when students are healthy and supported to participate meaningfully in education, they can reach their academic potential and get the most out of their schooling.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Health Mary-Anne Thomas
“We are continuing to lead the country in making primary care more affordable and accessible for all Victorians - Doctors in Schools is just one of the ways we are ensuring kids get the healthcare they need, no matter their circumstances.”
Quote attributable to Member for Broadmeadows, Kathleen Matthews-Ward
“Giving local students better access to GPs and medical advice at school is helping remove barriers to healthcare and ensuring young people and their families are supported to get the care they need.”
Reviewed 29 October 2023