Building healthier students

May 17, 2018

The road to health is set to be more accessible for local classrooms, thanks to a program placing doctors in schools.

Students at McGuire College in Shepparton will now have access to a general practitioner, via the Victorian Government’s Doctors in Secondary Schools pilot program beginning at the school this week.

The school said access to a doctor could prove difficult for some students, and the program would open pathways for them to do so.

Murray Primary Health Network chief Matt Jones said doctors would attend the school ‘‘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.

He said doctors John Mackellar and Jerry Wang and nurse Emma Roesler from Kialla Medical Clinic would visit the school once a week, working out of a purpose-built consultation area provided by the Department of Education.

McGuire College assistant principal Anna Sloane said the school was looking forward to working closely with the medical staff.

‘‘Many of our students have difficulties accessing medical services for a variety of reasons,’’ Ms Sloane said.

‘‘The Doctors in Secondary Schools program will allow our students to benefit from having improved access to health care which will help them identify health issues early so they can get the help they need.’’

Mr Jones said the program was aimed at making primary health care more accessible for students, provide assistance to young people so they could identify and address health problems early, and reduce pressure on working parents and community-based GPs.

‘‘It’s important for everyone to be able to communicate and build strong relationships with their local GP,’’ he said.

‘‘This initiative means students will be able to build that relationship from a young age, and rural, regional and disadvantaged areas won’t miss out.’’

Murray PHN has partnered with the Department of Education and Training to deliver adolescent-health-trained GPs to 22 secondary schools in the region, to assist young people to get the health and wellbeing support they require.

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