Meet Tony Mylius, one of the only cardiologists based in regional WA

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WA Department of Health director general David Russell-Weisz and Tony Mylius AM.
Camera IconWA Department of Health director general David Russell-Weisz and Tony Mylius AM. Credit: Rural Health West

A Wheatbelt cardiologist with hundreds of farming patients across the region has been named the Joint Specialist of the Year at the WA Rural Health Awards.

Tony Mylius has been at the forefront of country health since he relocated to the Northam with his wife, Sue, 11 years ago.

The cardiologist and consultant physician has worked in clinical cardiology for more than 20 years, with the recent 15 of those in WA.

A well-known community member, Dr Mylius lives and breathes the country life, working from the Wheatbelt Medical Specialists’ practice he owns in Northam.

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He also serves as a senior lecturer with the Rural Clinical School of WA in Northam and is one of three senior lecturers mentoring medical students.

With hundreds of farming clients spread from Bullfinch to Beverley, Dr Mylius knows both their stories and the importance of regional medicine.

“We know that health outcomes for patients in the country are poorer than in the city,” he said.

“Having services delivered in the regions is really important to provide an access point for patients.

“There are challenges in general practice service provision in the regions, and a relatively high turnover of general practitioners in the regions... so being able to provide important continuity of care for patients is crucial.”

As one of a handful of cardiologists living and working in the regions, his week is split between private practice and providing services to Northam Hospital.

He enjoys the “good balance” between patient care, improving services in the community and spending time at the hospital.

Dr Mylius moved to Northam in 2010 after providing visiting services for nearly seven years while based in Perth.

Practising medicine in Northam couldn’t be more different than in the city, and both knowing and being a part of the community is an integral part to his role.

While the town itself has 7000 residents, the town services up to 50,000 people from the Wheatbelt with many patients travelling to Northam for health care each year.

Some of the most far-flung places people travel to visit him include Southern Cross, Mukinbudin, Bullfinch, Dalwallinu, and south of Beverley.

The practice offers a home for other specialists to visit and work from, boosting the quality of care available locally.

Having services delivered in the regions is really important to provide an access point for patients,

Tony Mylius

Dr Mylius said he was humbled to be recognised for his efforts when he was named Specialist of the Year 2020 at the WA Rural Health Awards last month.

The competition was so tight that Dr Mylius was awarded a joint winner with St John of God Health Care Bunbury palliative medicine specialist Carolyn Masarei, while Kalgoorlie paediatrician Rafiq Hemani was named runner-up.

Dr Mylius was also bestowed a Member of the Order Australia Award (AM) last year for his “significant service to community health, and to cardiology”.

He has been a clinical cardiologist for more than 20 years, starting his career in Adelaide before moving to WA 15 years ago.

In 2015, he was appointed Clinical Co-Lead of the Cardiovascular Health Network with WA Health and was two years ago appointed to the Clinical Senate of WA.

Shire of Northam president Chris Antonio congratulated Dr Mylius on his award and said rural clinicians deserved recognition.

“It is incredible to see recognition for great service and for someone based in the Wheatbelt,” he said.

“It is so important for us to have good healthcare in the regions. The more we have to offer in town, the better.

“It saves people travelling to Perth and it saves them some mental anguish.”

Dr Mylius said he understood both his AM and Rural Specialist of the Year accolades had been “initiated by patients”, which he said was humbling and gratifying.

“I think it is a reflection of the relationship we have with our patients and the teamwork our practice staff have,” he said.

“Our practice is a real team effort and the fact patients recognise this is really important to me.”

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