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Gov's “Doctors in Secondary Schools” program
Wednesday 11 May 2016
Earlier in the week, AMA Victoria was asked for comment on the Victorian Government's “Doctors in Secondary Schools” program. Some media outlets incorrectly stated that the AMA is opposed to adolescents accessing contraception. This is not the case: AMA Victoria does not hold such concerns.
As was made clear in the statement provided to media outlets, AMA Victoria does not support the "Doctors in Secondary Schools" program for a range of reasons, including clinical governance and patient privacy concerns:
AMA Victoria statement on "Doctors in Secondary Schools" program, 9 /5/16
The "Doctors in Secondary Schools" program requires considerable policy and operational evaluation before it is implemented.
AMA Victoria has a number of concerns about this program, including:
- The clinical governance requirements associated with providing medical treatment, such as medical supplies, equipment, and infection control standards. Are schools able to meet these requirements?
- The regulations around medical record integrity and privacy are stringent. The infrastructure to secure these is expensive and the financial model has not been tested.
- Promoting the continuation of medical care - will the same doctor be available to students on an ongoing basis? Will there be contact and a system for communication to any general practitioner involved in the students’ care.
Doctors are committed to delivering effective health services to young adults. Issues such as alcohol and drug abuse, mental health (including eating disorders), and sexual health requires young people to be able to choose the doctor that best suits their needs. It is not clear if the “Doctors in Secondary Schools” program will be able to provide full medical care to adolescents.
Furthermore, the Medicare rebate freeze until June 2020 will challenge the viability of this program as the fees generated through bulk-billing will not address the year by year rises in CPI and WPI.
AMA Victoria has proposed to the Victorian Government a model to strengthen health promotion and health literacy in schools. Doctors’ Youth Education Service (Dr. YES) would train medical students to act as volunteer educators and deliver a low cost prevention and wellbeing focused approach.