Doctors will regularly visit 100 Victorian government secondary schools as part of a $43.7 million program to help ensure young people get the healthcare they need, Member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes, said today.

Ms Symes and Minister for Education, James Merlino, today invited 32 secondary schools across Northern Victoria to apply to participate in the Doctors in Secondary Schools program, which will commence from the start of 2017.

Ms Symes said through the program, participating schools will partner with local doctors, who will visit the school one day a week.

Schools participating in the program will also receive funding for a fit-for-purpose examination room.

“By bringing together schools, local GPs and other health professionals the Doctors in Secondary Schools program invests in the healthy development of our next generation — the key to Victoria’s future prosperity,” Ms Symes said.

“For all sorts of reasons it can be hard for some young people to access the healthcare they need, that’s why we’re removing barriers by bringing doctors directly to their school.

“This program will not only mean students at 32 country government schools have easy access to a doctor, but that those doctors have a modern examination room to work in.

“We want country Victorian kids to be healthy and happy and we know that when they are, they do better in school.”

Through the Expression of Interest (EoI) program, schools invited to participate will need to demonstrate a need for the service and an ability to build local partnerships with the community in order to be included in the program.

The EOI process concludes on June 3, 2016, and successful schools are expected to be notified in August.

The Doctors in Secondary Schools program will make a valuable contribution to achieving the Education State targets of ‘happy, healthy and resilient kids’ by improving ease of access to health services for young people.