Surgeon 'proud' of rare honour

MOUNT Druitt Hospital's operating theatres will be renamed in honour of one of its most popular and highly respected characters.

Health minister Jillian Skinner is expected to attend the unveiling of the James "Mac" Wyllie Operating Suite in April.

Associate Professor Wyllie was head of surgery from when the hospital opened in 1982 until he stepped down in 2012.

Following his recent retirement, Professor Wyllie remains an emeritus consultant at the surgical department to ensure his input and wealth of knowledge isn't lost.

Professor Wyllie was surprised when Western Sydney Local Health District bureaucrats announced the news at his farewell dinner.

"I feel very proud as it's a rare honour," he told the Star.

Professor Wyllie's former colleagues welcomed the move.

"It's a kind gesture that shows the increasing close and trusting relationship between doctors and hospital administrators," consultant general surgeon Dr Richard Hanney said.

Hospital general manager Andrew Newton added:

"He has not only contributed immensely to Mount Druitt Hospital, but also to the local community, where he still works in general practice after-hours helping the community."

Mr Newton added the district intends to have all four operating rooms functional at Mount Druitt in the near future.

Professor Wyllie hopes to leave a lasting legacy on Mount Druitt Hospital.

"I hope Mount Druitt becomes a proper hospital again," he said.

"It needs increased services. When it opened in 1982, the hospital did almost everything for the people of Mount Druitt, except delivering babies. But the hospital changed when we lost intensive care and emergency surgery. The hospital is slowly regaining services under the current administrators."

Pofessor Wyllie received an OAM in 2011 and campaigned for the legislation of seat belts on buses following two fatal crashes within two months on the NSW north coast in 1989.

He's enjoying his early days of retirement.

"I do miss it in some ways but I've never met a surgeon who has regretted retirement," he said.

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