Carol Altmann – The Terrier
The change in ownership for the Warrnambool Medical Clinic has seen a huge change in staff since it was sold for $1.3m to Lyndoch Living in 2019.
It’s a little over 12 months since the clinic lost its practice manager – its chief administrator – who resigned after a decade in the job.
I have since learned that around 20 more staff have left the practice since then, including two GPs who resigned in recent weeks.
Two other GPs, you may recall, resigned immediately after Lyndoch Living took control of the practice in April 2019.
According to my sources, there is now only one nurse at the practice who has been there longer than 12 months, and another eight have resigned.
At least six reception staff have also left.
Not all the positions have been replaced.
What has happened, though, is a mirror of what has happened at Lyndoch Living itself these past five years: a balloon in the number of people with special titles.
Where there was once a single practice manager, there is now:
a Project Director Integrated Primary Health;
a Project co-ordinator Primary Care;
an Operations Manager Primary Health Care and;
a Practice nurse Clinical Lead.
It’s worth remembering that Lyndoch Living paid $1.3 million in 2019 to buy the “goodwill” of Warrnambool Medical Clinic, which means GPs on contract, staff and patient lists.
It didn’t pay $1.3 million for the actual building on the corner of Liebig St and Raglan Parade.
Given the high turnover of staff since then, and anecdotal evidence of patients transferring elsewhere, I can only ponder how much of that $1.3 million worth of “goodwill” still remains intact.
As for the building itself, the Standard’s Jackson Graham is reporting today that it is up for sale at an expected price of $1.2m to $1.3m.
According to the report, Lyndoch Living has a lease on the building until June 2022.
That is a mere 12 months away.
This might explain why Lyndoch is barrelling ahead with plans to build its new $24 million, 3000 sq/m medical clinic on Hopkins Rd, despite concerns around the financial viability of the project.
As we know, the Lyndoch board is continuing to refuse to explain how the clinic will be funded, how many tenants are locked in, and – most importantly – how much money it will create for the care of elderly residents.
At a cost of around $24 m, this project is even bigger than the new Warrnambool library at $20m but, unlike that project, it doesn’t have one cent of government funding.
The strange thing is, for less than $3 million, Lyndoch could have bought the Warrnambool Medical Clinic building AND all of its goodwill and maybe spent another couple of million bucks refurbishing what is a prime piece of real estate.
A $5 million investment sounds a lot less risky than $24 million.
As it is, that prime piece of real estate is now up for grabs and Danny Harris, the selling agent, says – wait for it – it would make an ideal medical clinic.