The Doctors in Secondary Schools initiative provides school-based health services for 100 Victorian secondary schools most in need. It complements existing student wellbeing programs aimed at improving health literacy, and preventive health.
What is it?
The Doctors in Secondary Schools (DISS) initiative is funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) and implemented by Victoria's six Primary Health Networks (PHNs). North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network is the lead PHN.
The initiative aims to provide equitable, accessible and professional primary care services to young Victorians in secondary schools, ensuring their experience is positive and underpinned by integrated and person-centred care delivery.
The program complements existing student wellbeing programs aimed at improving health literacy and preventive health. 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 and community-based GPs.
The program is currently funded to December 2021.
Who is involved?
As part of the program, 100 Victorian government secondary schools will have access to a GP trained in adolescent health, for up to one day per week. This service will be located on site, as an in-reach service, providing medical advice and treatment to students enrolled in the participating school.
The program calls for a medical practice to nominate a general practitioner or eligible registrar to provide services in a satellite clinic within the school for a period of four hours once per week. A registered nurse (division one) is also supported to spend a full day at the school.
Interested medical centres are required to be accredited against the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for General Practice. Practices that are accredited or registered for accreditation and committed to working with the school on an ongoing basis 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.
The program requires GPs with the following:
- A medical degree and licence to practice in Australia
- Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registration with no restriction on scope of practice
- Experience working in a multidisciplinary team
The program requires practice nurses (Division 1) with the following:
- AHPRA registration
- No restrictions on scope of practice in Australia
All clinicians will be required to undertake a Working with Children Check and mandatory training in line with program requirements.
A list of the 100 schools involved across the state is available on the Victorian and Tasmanian PHN Alliance website.
Across the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) region, 21 schools are participating in the initiative.
To find out more about Doctors in Secondary Schools, contact Nicole Green or Tamra Hoare by phone: (03) 9347 1188 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We have a very diverse community, so we may have young people where it’s not very common that they go to a GP if they are feeling unwell, so this is a really great opportunity for them." – Dr Erin Gordon, DISS GP at Mount Alexander College