Rutherglen high joins Victorian Doctors in Schools Program

STUDENTS at Rutherglen High School will be able to access a GP on campus thanks to the Doctors in Schools program.

Appointments were available for the first time this week.

The program, which began in 2017, seeks to have GPs available in every Victorian school by the end of the year.

Rutherglen High principal Phil Rogers said with more than half the school's students travelling to the campus by bus, it was important for them to have easier access to a medical professional.

“The biggest things is that as a small country town, over half our kids come to school by bus,” he said.

“Those kids can sometimes have difficulty accessing medical services.

“In our modern life, many kids come from single parent families, or families where both parents work, so for them to be able to access the service without parents having to take an afternoon or a day off work is really important.”

Equally crucial are the kinds of services available – Mr Rogers said research had shown as many as 40 per cent of students across the state had used the program to seek treatment for mental health issues.

“My understanding is that around the state, in the schools that have been in the program longer than us, is that up to 40 per cent of the appointments are about kids experiencing mental health issues, anxiety and depression,” he said.

“For many kids, they're actually working with a GP and developing a mental health plan or seeing outside specialists as a result of that plan.

“It's a brilliant opportunity for students to access those services.

“You always want to bring in the kinds of people the kids need to see.”