Three schools in Baw Baw have been selected to be a part of the Andrew Government’s ‘Doctors in Secondary Schools Program’ but local MP Gary Blackwood is concerned about the initiatives lack of clarity.
Member of Narracan, Gary Blackwood said he is fearful of the possibility that children as young as 12 could have access to medical advice and contraception because of the program.
“Parents have raised concerns that children as young as 12 may be able to access medical advice and treatment at school, including prescriptions for the contraceptive pill”, Mr Blackwood said.
“The Victorian Government has failed to clarify whether parents will be able to provide consent or even have knowledge that their children will be accessing a doctor whilst at school.”
“Whilst I have great confidence in our schools and medical practitioners to make common-sense decisions around such topics, it is clear that all parents state-wide fully understand the details on how this program will work. As a parent, I would want to know.”
Warragul Regional College, Drouin Secondary College and Neerim District Secondary College are among 100 Victorian government schools selected to partake in the $43.8 million initiative term one of next year.
General practitioners will attend each of the selected secondary schools once a week to provide medical advice and health care to students who need it most.
“We know families in regional Victoria often find it the most difficult to access healthcare so by having doctors in schools we can help make sure young Victorians can access a GP no matter where they live”, Minister for Health Jill Hennessey said.
According to a spokesperson for Premier Dan Andrews, the program is about young people receiving the health support, advice and treatment they need to reach their full potential.
“The Doctors in Secondary Schools program aims to make primary health care more accessible to students, provide assistance to young people to identify and address any health problems early and to reduce the pressure on working parents and community-based GPs.”
A further 80 schools have been selected for the Doctors in Secondary Schools program but will not receive GP Services right away.
The Andrews Government will roll out the program to another 40 schools term 3 of next year and further 40 secondary schools term 1 of 2018.