Doctors in Secondary Schools

Doctors in Secondary Schools

The Victorian Government is ensuring young people get the health support, advice and treatment they need to reach their full potential. The $43.8 million Doctors in Secondary Schools initiative provides school-based health services for 100 Victorian secondary schools most in need.

What is the Doctors in Secondary Schools initiative?

The initiative provides modern clinical facilities onsite at schools and funds up to one day (4 hours) per week for a General Practitioner (GP) and Division 1 Practice Nurse (7.6 hours) to provide both primary care for students and contribute to the school's existing student wellbeing programs to help increase health literacy and preventive health.

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
  • 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 in turn can affect their engagement with education. Doctors in Secondary Schools is making a valuable contribution toward achieving the education state school targets for happy, healthy and resilient kids by improving ease of access to health services for young people.

The program is guided by a range of key principles:

  • equity of access
  • no cost of access to the student
  • youth friendly and staff in trained adolescent-health
  • student confidentiality
  • cultural safety

The program was developed in consultation and collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders across government, health and education institutions, and academia.

How the service works

The Victorian Government secondary schools selected for this pilot program are working together with local general practices to enable primary health care services to be delivered on school premises. GPs attend the school for up to one day a week to assist students to identify and address any health problems early. School-based primary care services not only address issues faced in the supply of care, but are used to raise health awareness among young people, including awareness about how to seek care within the school and community. The services operate according to World Health Organisation standards for quality youth focused care.

All secondary school students who are enrolled in the participating Victorian Government secondary school are able to access the GP, subject to providing the requisite consent for the services. The Doctors in Secondary Schools program is not intended to replace existing relationships with family doctors or fragment healthcare support, but rather to supplement, or provide access to a GP in areas where access is limited, or for students without an existing GP. Where young people have existing relationships with GPs,  the school-based GP will liaise with the existing GP so they can provide the best support possible.

School-based GPs are paid through the initiative for their work in the schools, and consultations are bulk-billed through Medicare; there are no out-of-pocket expenses for consultations with the GP on the school premises.

How the initiative is being coordinated

The Department of Education and Training (DET) is working in partnership with Victoria's six PHNs. PHNs are supporting GPs in schools to be integrated with community-based primary care services, to enable best-practice patient-centred care. PHNs also work with the DET to ensure GPs receive the best quality evidence-based training before starting their work in the school, as well as ongoing professional development and debriefing on various important topics, that GPs will potentially encounter while working within schools.

Of the 100 schools selected for this program, 22 are in Murray PHN region.

Click here for a map of the 22 schools in the Murray PHN region.
Click here for a complete list of the 100 selected schools in Victoria.

Funding supports available for medical centre providers

There are two support payments available under the program based on 40 weeks of delivery (school terms only). The GP Incentive Payment and the Medical Centre Support Payments. Click here for information on both support payments.

Participating schools have been provided with modern fit-for-purpose GP consultation facilities.
Click here for a full list of infrastructure and equipment that has been provided.
Click here for a list of school term dates.

For more information

Doctors in Secondary Schools: DET website

Doctors in Secondary Schools Operational Guidelines v2.5 March 2019


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