Doctors to be stationed in 50 QLD schools

Doctors to be stationed in 50 QLD schools

Doctors will be stationed in 50 Queensland schools from May next year, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced.

The pilot program, introduced by the Palaszczuk Government, is part of the government’s $100m student wellbeing program and aims to improve health care for young people across Queensland in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

“Every Queenslander deserves to be able to book a doctor’s appointment when they need one. But for many young people, getting in to see a GP is often difficult and expensive,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“We know that one of the greatest barriers for many young people is the difficulty in finding a GP that bulk bills. This will make a difference for thousands of students throughout the state.”

Education Minister Grace Grace and said she expected all clinics to be up and running by May 2022.

“This initiative is part of the game-changing $100 million student wellbeing program which we announced at the last election,” she said.

“Originally, the GP pilot program was designed to base GPs at 20 state secondary schools throughout the state. We asked schools to register their interest to participate in this program and we were inundated with requests which is why we’ve expanded it to 50.”

Grace said the Government’s $100m student wellbeing program was an important component of the Palaszczuk Government’s record $15.3bn education budget.

“At the last election we committed to a wellbeing program, giving every student, in every state primary and secondary school, access to a health and wellbeing professional. It will see up to 464 additional psychologists and wellbeing professionals employed in Queensland schools over the next three years,” she said.

“Providing students with access to timely healthcare, at no cost to them or their families, will have a positive impact on students’ health, mental health and their readiness and ability to engage at school, and we want to ensure as many students as possible can benefit.”

One of the schools selected to participate in the pilot program is Marsden State High School, which has nearly 3,200 students.

Principal Andrew Peach said the school, which is “like a small town”, expects to benefit greatly from the program.

“To have the services of a GP onsite will be of great benefit to our students and complement our existing support services very well,” Peach told The Educator.

“We are really fortunate to have some great partnerships which have supported our other services like our onsite psychologists in partnership with the University of Queensland, our physiotherapists with our partners at Fizzio For Life, our Social Workers with Griffith University and our Exercise Scientists in partnership with QUT.”

Peach said the school’s goal is to support the development of students’ body, mind and character.

“The GP in Schools Program will enable support and access to a much higher level for students. A number of support services can only be activated with a GP referral, so to be able to support our community with ease of access at the school is a massive bonus,” he said.

“We’re really appreciative of the work that our team and our partners have put in to planning and writing the application, and I’ve no doubt it will be a great success for our community.”