Legacy in good health

Toodyay doctor Richard Walkey with partner Sean Byron.
Toodyay doctor Richard Walkey with partner Sean Byron.

Dr Walkey died in April last year after a short battle with cancer.

He was recognised for his substantial service to medicine in Toodyay, Wongan Hills and Norseman.

Dr Walkey served the community of Toodyay as a GP for more than 20 years and was a GP in Wongan Hills for about 18 months.

In Toodyay, he expanded the range of allied health services from a visiting physiotherapist to include visits from a podiatrist, dietician, audiologist and cancer counsellors. He instigated an improved pathology service with a resident diagnostic service and established a diabetes clinic.

He also mentored about 30 GP registrars through his various medical practices.

In Norseman, he introduced programs to better the general lifestyles in the area, improved the ambulance service and the services at Norseman Hospital.

Dr Walkey’s partner, Sean Byron, said he was dedicated to his patients, ensuring they received the best service.

‘Some patients who moved away would still come to see him ” even from Mandurah,’ Mr Byron said.

The doctor had been known to use influence to fast-track appointments with specialists and visit patients having treatment in Perth.

He would often visit the Northam Hospital early in the morning, see his patients in Toodyay, then make the round trip home via Bolgart to check on cancer patients, before returning to Toodyay.

He also visited terminally ill patients in their homes in Toodyay on weekends while living in Wongan Hills.

Dr Walkey had a special affinity with elderly patients, with 35 per cent of them at The Residency in Northam under his care. He introduced the Commonwealth Screening Service, where a registered nurse visited senior patients at home to survey their health status so early problems could be detected.

‘He was dedicated to being a GP and he did not care about anyone’s financial situation ” they all received the same high-quality treatment,’ Mr Byron said.

Mr Byron will accept the award for Dr Walkey at a special ceremony at Parliament House later this year.