The $43.8 million Doctors in Secondary Schools initiative is delivering on the election commitment to fund 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 most in need.
What is the Doctors in Schools program?
Transcript (docx - 26.95kb)
The objectives of the program are to:
- make primary health care more accessible to students
- provide assistance to young people to identify and address any health problems early
- reduce the pressure on working parents.
The Department has engaged Victoria’s six Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to lead the engagement of medical centres, GPs and Practice Nurses (PNs) to work in the program in select secondary schools across metro and non-metro Victoria.
All secondary school students enrolled in a participating school will be able to access an adolescent-health trained GP, subject to providing the required consent for the services. Participating schools, students and their parents/carers will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses for student consultations with the GP.
Participating schools will receive funding to enable their staff to support program coordination and training.
Also included is funding of $18 million for modern, fit-for-purpose consulting rooms in participating schools.
The program will make a valuable contribution to achieving the Education State targets of 'happy, healthy and resilient kids' by improving ease of access to health services for young people.
How were secondary schools selected?
There were 166 Victorian government secondary schools invited to lodge an application. Schools with the highest Student Family Occupation and Education (SFOE) index were targeted, with consideration also given to schools in areas with limited access to a GP.
There were 135 applications received. Each application was evaluated based on the schools' responses to key selection criteria, with schools asked to demonstrate the specific health and wellbeing needs of their student population, their capacity and willingness to build community relationships and their long-term commitment to student health and wellbeing.
Consent and confidentiality policy
On 19 January 2017, the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education announced the program consent and confidentiality policy.
The program’s consent and confidentiality policy was developed in consultation with experts including: the Australian Medical Association, the Australian Education Union, Parents Victoria and the Victorian Association of Secondary School Principals.
Consistent with Australian common law, the program recognises that:
Families with children at participating schools will be informed about the program at the start of the year, with detailed fact sheets.
Minor revisions and clarifications were made to the policy and information sheets since 19 January 2017. The versions uploaded here are the revised ones, dated 18 May 2017.
When will schools commence in the program?
The Doctors in Secondary Schools program is being implemented with a phased rollout; the first 20 schools commenced participation in the first half of 2017, a further 40 from Term 3, 2017, and the final 40 from Term 1, 2018.
On 1 September 2016, the Premier and the Deputy Premier, the Minister for Education, announced the 100 successful secondary schools at Mount Alexander College, Flemington.
On 19 January 2017, the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education announced the roll out of the next 80 secondary schools to participate in the program.
The program is being rolled out progressively around the state from the first half of 2017. In selecting the first 20 schools to participate in the program, priority has been given to those schools that scored highly in the expression of interest process and who had an existing partnership with a local health service to provide a GP. Consideration has also been given to ensuring geographic spread, metro/regional/rural distribution and coverage across each of the six Primary Health Networks.
How can general practices get involved in the Doctors in Secondary Schools program?
General practices interested in becoming part of the program can contact their local Primary Health Network (PHN) to get further information on the process for becoming involved.
The role of PHNs is to:
- engage local medical centres to engage, manage and monitor GPs and practice nurses (PNs) in their catchment
- support participating GP and PN training and ongoing professional development to help ensure a youth-friendly service is being provided
- promoting best practice care by integrating GPs and PNs in school clinics, with community-based primary care services
- facilitating GPs and PNs' training and ongoing professional development.
Requirements for 'Doctors in Secondary Schools' medical centres, general practitioners and practice nurses
Interested medical centres are required to be accredited against the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for General Practice
Accredited practices or those registered for accreditation are encouraged to apply. Practices are required to provide bulk billing services for students, have a medical software program and have, or are willing to have a clinical audit tool installed to record and report data.
GPs and PNs will be expected to undertake online and face-to-face training in adolescent health.
The program requires GPs:
- with a medical degree and licence to practice in Australia
- to have an Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registration with no restriction on scope of practice
- who have experience working in a multi-disciplinary team
Experience in child and adolescent health, mental health and drug and alcohol services is desirable.
The program is also seeking practice nurses (qualified and registered as division 1), with an AHPRA registration and no restrictions on scope of practice in Australia. The Department is interested in nurses who have competency and experience in adolescent health and development, primary health care, community health, mental health, public health and/or health promotion.
These nurses will need to be employed by a medical clinic engaged by the relevant PHN.
To find out more or to express your interest in providing a GP and PN for a school in your area, please contact:
If you don't know which PHN your practice falls under, please refer to the PHN Map locator:
Primary Health Network map locator
For more information on the program, see: