Last month, Benalla P-12 College Principal, Barbara O’Brien, officially opened the Doctors in Schools Program.
The program, which was funded by the Victorian Government’s Department of Education and Training, will allow all Year 7 to 12 students access to a doctor.
Local councillors, dignitaries, staff and students came together for the ribbon cutting ceremony and a tour of the facility, which will now house a doctor every Tuesday from 9am to noon. Dr Ben Weatherhead and Dr Fleur Christopherson will be available for appointments at the school on alternating weeks. All appointments will be kept confidential.
As Benalla is a small city approximately 200 kilometers north of Melbourne, the Doctors in Schools Program will allow students who do not have access to medical clinics a chance to receive the support they need.
“Some families find it difficult to afford the cost of medical treatment, but as this is a free service it will be a great help to these families,” Ms O’Brien said.
The program will be coordinated by the school’s Wellbeing Officer and another staff member and will help students with general, mental and sexual health issues.
“Our welfare support includes a student wellbeing officer, visiting counsellors and a sexual health nurse.” Ms O’Brien said.
“The fact that we have been successful in gaining this program adds greater depth and breadth to the support we can offer our students, many of whom experience significant disadvantage.”
The inclusion of a doctor into the schools support system will have a positive impact on the student’s wellbeing and will mean the school can address health issues in a more strategic and timely manner.