As you may be aware, our school was successful in being selected to participate in the Victorian Government’s Doctors in Secondary Schools program.
As part of this program, an adolescent-trained GP (general practitioner) Dr Fleur Christopheson from Benalla Church Street Surgery and Dr Ben Weatherhead from the Coster Street Medical Practice will be operating on school grounds each Tuesday from 9:00am to 12:30pm (every second week it is 9:00am to 2:45pm) to provide free access to primary health care for secondary students at our school.
We know that teenagers are the least likely of all age groups to seek health care, but we also know that many health problems that can have consequences into adulthood start at this time of life. This program seeks to address this issue.
Parents and Carers can support the success of this program by talking to their child about the program and encouraging them to access the GP if they need primary health care. Students will be able to access the GP themselves, or you can make appointments for them by contacting the Doctors in Secondary Schools Program Lead Craig Carley or Rebecca Pell on 03 57612888. You are welcome to attend consultations with them, if/when required.
WHAT WILL THE GP DO?
The GP will provide students with the same services as the kind normally provided by GPs in the community, including seeing students about their physical and mental health, and sexual and reproductive health issues. GPs may also make referrals to other health services as required.
The GP will bulk bill consultations through Medicare, so there will be no out-of-pocket expenses for this service for your family.
This program is not designed to replace any existing medical arrangements your family may have in place. The GP in the school can provide a convenient alternative to primary care within school’s hours, and encourage health care access to those students without an existing relationship with a GP.
The program is intended to provide better access to primary care for secondary school students. Therefore, parents, carers, guardians and other family members are not able to use this service at this time.
All GPs in this program will undergo adolescent health training and will understand the health and wellbeing needs of teenagers.
ACCESSING THE GP
Generally, all students can make an appointment to see the GP. Victorian law is clear on how and when students can consent for medical treatment by a GP:
o Students who are mature minors can consent to their own medical treatment
o Students who are not mature minors cannot give consent to their own medical treatment.
Mature minors are students under the age of 18 years who are deemed capable of seeking and obtaining health care for their particular medical issue. The GP will assess if a student is a mature minor with respect to the issue for which they are seeking medical treatment.
If the GP considers your child is a mature minor, they may see them without you. The GP will often encourage your child to involve you in their care, and GPs understand you are an important source of information and support for your child when it comes to their health. If the GP thinks your student is not a mature minor, your consent will be sought if the student wishes to progress with the treatment.
More information on consent, confidentiality and medical treatment by a GP is included in the information sheet, which is on the Doctors in Secondary Schools webpage at: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/Pages/doctors-secondary-schools.aspxt
If you have any concerns or questions about the Doctors in Secondary School program, you can discuss them with Craig Carley or Rebecca Pell at the College.