Local doctors set to return
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
DOCTORS are set to return to Toodyay at the end of next month.
Toodyay shire councillors voted 7-0 at a special meeting this month to accept a new contract with a general practitioner to reopen the town’s Alma Beard Medical Centre on Monday March 27.
This follows a shock decision by the Northam-based Wheatbelt Health Network to close the town’s only surgery last November.
Councillors voted to offer a free five-year deal – same as previously – for doctors to resume providing medical services at the ratepayer-owned facility.Read more
Tenders were advertised before Christmas after the shire obtained advice from WA health authorities on how to proceed.
A confidential draft “General Practice Agreement” was endorsed behind closed doors on the afternoon of February 1, just three hours before this edition of The Toodyay Herald went to press.
The incoming doctor is expected to employ other GPs part-time to ensure an adequate level of patient care at the normally busy practice.
The council agreed to pay an undisclosed annual subsidy to the new doctor, who will be required to report back to the shire annually on “practice activities”.
The new doctor will have exclusive use of the medical centre, with furniture, internet and computers provided by the shire.
Building insurance, building maintenance and upkeep of the grounds will also be funded and managed by the shire.
Patients’ records will remain the property of the shire upon termination of the new contract, “subject to legislative requirements such as the Privacy Act”.
The cost of power, water and other utilities will be shared equally between the doctor and the shire.
Councillors also agreed to offer a 100 per cent rates subsidy on any property “purchased by the doctor for the practice”.
They agreed to consider providing a vehicle to the new doctor at the end of the first year of the new contract.