doctors In schools
what is the doctors in schools program?
The Victorian Government’s ‘Doctors in Secondary Schools’ program aims to make sure young people receive the health support, advice and treatment they need to reach their full potential. Rosebud Secondary College provides a ‘Doctors in Secondary Schools’ service to students each Thursday morning. This means that, at this time, students can attend confidential appointments at school with a female adolescent-trained GP (general practitioner) from South Coast Medical Centre.
‘Doctors in Secondary Schools’ is an externally-provided service which operates from the College’s purpose-built BASE room. The GP is available every Thursday 9am-1pm and is assisted by a registered nurse to provide consistent care for students who attend. Appointments are made by students or their parents with the College’s First Aid Officer or wellbeing team, with scheduled times available during lessons and a drop in time at recess and start of lunchtime. Parents are also able to attend consultations with with their child if suitable.
Victorian law is clear on how and when people under the age of 18 can consent for medical treatment by a GP:
- Students who are mature minors can consent to their own medical treatment
- Students who are not mature minors cannot give consent to their own medical treatment.
For the ‘Doctors in Secondary Schools’ program, this means that generally, all students can make an appointment to see the GP. The GP assesses if a student is a mature minor with respect to the issue for which they are seeking 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. If the GP considers the student to be a mature minor, they may see them without their parents being present. The GP often encourages students to involve parents in their care, as she understands that parents are an important source of information and support for their child when it comes to their health. If the GP thinks a student is not a mature minor, parental consent is sought if the student wishes to progress with the treatment.
The ‘Doctors in Secondary Schools’ GP provides students with the same services as those provided by GPs in the community, including physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health issues. The GP may also make referrals to other onsite or local health services as required. ‘Doctors in Secondary Schools’ consultations are bulk billed through Medicare, so there are no out-of-pocket expenses for this service for students or their families, which provides a convenient alternative to primary care within schools hours.