August 17, 2016  |  

Doctors for Braybrook and Footscray City Colleges

MS THOMSON (Footscray) — (8134) My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Education, and the action I seek is support for both Braybrook College and Footscray City College to receive funding under the Doctors in Secondary Schools program, which will bring an opportunity for students in both those schools to lead healthy and vibrant lives and give them a chance to ensure they get the health care they need when they need it. Of course this is part of the Andrews Labor government’s promise to fund general practitioners to attend up to 100 Victorian government secondary schools in disadvantaged areas to provide medical advice and health care to those students most in need. This is vitally important for the students that attend the schools that I have mentioned, both Footscray City College and Braybrook College.

Under the program $25.8 million will go to recruiting and training GPs, as well as staffing and operational costs, while a further $18 million will build examination rooms on school grounds. This program is based on the Wellington Wellbeing Centre at the Wellington Secondary College, where local doctors attend the school one day a week and bulk-bill students using their own Medicare cards.

The Doctors in Secondary Schools program will make a valuable contribution towards achieving the education state’s target of happy, healthy and resilient kids by improving access to health services for young people — often kids who do not get to the doctor early enough and do not get diagnosed enough. But more importantly doctors will be trained to deal with mental health issues as well, and as we know, in our schools now mental health issues are a big concern. In disadvantaged areas they are never addressed properly or they are addressed far too late.

This is an opportunity to get to these students early in a confidential way to ensure that they get the medical attention they need at the earliest possible moment, not as a last resort. It means that we can address not only the students’ physical needs but also their mental health needs. It means that we can have students who fully participate in education and do not miss out on the educational opportunities before them. To have this program in our disadvantaged areas is a great boon, I think, for ensuring that kids get an opportunity to maximise their opportunities for education, get the best possible outcomes for themselves and ensure that they get to enjoy their school years and make the most of every single one of those years