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New Chairperson and Board Members Welcomed at Hunter New England Central Coast PHN

Experienced non-executive Director and Chair, Wendy Machin has been announced as the new Chairperson of the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN).

Ms Machin currently sits on Boards in the public, private and NFP sector. She is Chair of Reflections Holiday Parks, a Director of Heritage Bank, Golf Australia and Vice Chair of the NSW Nationals. Wendy also operates her own beef cattle property on the mid coast of NSW where she was born and raised. Ms Machin’s early and formative years were in politics, serving 11 years in the NSW Parliament as Deputy Speaker of the House, a Minister and Shadow Minister, along the way becoming the first Australian woman to have a baby in office as a Minister.

Ms Machin said she is eagerly anticipating her next chapter with the PHN. “I am excited to have the opportunity to lead the Hunter New England Central Coast PHN, to continue improving health outcomes for people living in the region. I look forward to building on the legacy of the PHN’s inaugural Chairperson, Jane Schwager.”

Richard Nankervis, CEO of Hunter New England Central Coast PHN congratulated Ms Machin. “The extensive recruitment process made it clear that Ms Machin was the best choice for this critical role. Wendy is a strategic thinker and has shown commitment to quality improvement and delivering results. The PHN Board looks forward to welcoming Wendy’s expertise and knowledge to the PHN and continuing to work with stakeholders and the community to improve primary health care.”

“At this time we also pause to reflect on the achievements made by our outgoing Chair. Jane has been an excellent leader, mentor and friend and we thank her for the significant contribution she has made to the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network.”

In addition to the new Chair, two new board members will replace outgoing Directors, Dr Grahame Deane AM and Graham McGuinness OAM. Professor Stephanie Short from the Central Coast and Dr Rohana Wanasinghe from Narrabri have been welcomed as the two new Directors.

Professor Stephanie Short is an honorary professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney with a clinical and academic background, initially as a registered physiotherapist, then as an academic health sociologist and academic manager. Stephanie is also a Senior Advisor on the Design, Reform and Implementation of Health Practitioner Regulation to the World Health Organization in Geneva. With expertise in health policy analysis, strategic thinking, models of care and health workforce, Stephanie is well positioned to provide advice regarding federal legislation on health care and public policy.

Dr Wanasinghe is a General Practitioner at Bridge Medical in Narrabri, where he has worked as a procedural GP and GP registrar supervisor since 2014. In addition to his role as GP, Rohana works at the Narrabri District Hospital performing surgery and participating in the emergency department on-call is dedicated to improving health care access for rural NSW, which includes increasing the rural health workforce. Rohana was recently awarded the RACGP Supervisor of the Year for 2022 NSW/ACT.

Richard Nankervis, CEO at the PHN has welcomed the two new Directors. “It is with great pleasure I welcome our two new Directors, who were selected following a competitive recruitment process. Although Professor Short has a strong clinical background, her advice and expertise on global health workforce will be instrumental to the PHN as we navigate through the current workforce shortage.”

“As a rural GP, Dr Wanasinghe is at the coalface of rural health and workforce challenges. His guidance will be equally integral throughout the next phase of our strategic plan.”

“While we anticipate the arrival of our new Directors we’d like to acknowledge the vast contribution of our outgoing Directors, Dr Grahame Deane AM and Graham McGuinness OAM. Both Directors have been on the Board since the PHN’s foundation in 2014. Their significant clinical and strategic influence on the PHN has led to continuous improvement in primary care for residents within the Hunter New England and Central Coast Regions. We thank them for their advice and friendship and wish them all the very best for their next endeavours.”

Changes to the Board will take place following the AGM in November.


For more information: Rebecca Brennan, Communications and Public Relations Manager 0437 478 138

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