​Our Board

The Hunter New England Health Board consists of 13 members from a range of backgrounds and with local ties to the Hunter, New England and Lower Mid North Coast regions. Together, the Board and Chief Executive are responsible for:

  • Ensuring effective governance and risk management processes are in place to guarantee compliance with the NSW Public Sector Accountability Framework.
  • Improving local patient outcomes and responding to issues that arise.
  • Monitoring Hunter New England Health’s performance against measures outlined in the Service Agreement.
  • Delivering services and performance standards based on annual strategic and operating plans within an agreed budget. This forms the basis of our Service Agreement.
  • Ensuring Hunter New England Health provides services efficiently and accountably.
  • Producing Annual Reports that are subject to State financial accountability and audit frameworks.
  • Maintaining effective communication with local and State public health stakeholders.

​Lyn Fragar

Associate Professor Lyn Fragar AO, from Delungra (Chair). Dr Fragar is a Public Health Physician. She is an advocate for community participation, clinician engagement and the effective delivery of safe, high-quality care for patients and communities. She is the former Director of the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety, a research centre of the University of Sydney. Dr Fragar received her Order of Australia award for pioneering service to rural health care and farm safety issues across Australia.

​Felicity Barr

Dr Felicity Barr, from Nelson Bay (Deputy Chairperson).  Dr Barr’s current appointments and background includes: Chairman, ANZAC Health and Medical Research Foundation; Member, Advisory Committee of Chairmen, Australian Association of Medicine Research Institute;  Chair, Advisory Board, Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, University of Newcastle; Independent member, Audit and Risk Management Committee, HNE Health; President Australian Association of Gerontology (Hunter Chapter).

​​Helen Belcher

Dr Helen Belcher, from Bolwarra Heights.  Dr Belcher’s current appointments and background includes Conjoint Lecturer School of Humanities and Social Science, University of Newcastle and Chair of the Maitland Hospital Local Health Advisory Committee. Dr Belcher has a Graduate Diploma in Social Administration, a Masters of Health Planning and a PhD (The University of Sydney).

Martin Cohen

Associate Professor Martin Cohen, from Newcastle. Dr Cohen is a Psychiatrist and former Executive Director of Hunter New England Mental Health Service. Dr Cohen's current appointments include senior consulting psychiatrist at Procare, Managing Director of Asclepius Health - Health Transition Systems. Martin completed medicine at Sydney University, is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and completed his PhD employing Magnetic Resonance brain imaging to assess the effects of early cannabis exposure on brain structure and function and correlates in schizophrenia. As a lead investigator on national mental health epidemiological studies and supervising PhD students, he has a broad track record that includes clinical, information technology and basic sciences work.

​Patrick Farrell

Dr Patrick T. Farrell, from Newcastle, is a Senior Staff Specialist Anaesthetist based at John Hunter Hospital. He was the Director of Anaesthesia at John Hunter Hospital for 10 years. His sub-specialty interest is in paediatric and neonatal anaesthesia and he is a past President of the Society for Paediatric Anaesthesia in New Zealand and Australia. He was a Councillor of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists for 9 years and served the College in a variety of other roles including Chair of Examinations. Dr Farrell is a conjoint lecturer for the University of Newcastle and also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

​Fergus Fitzsimons

Fergus Fitzsimons, from Tamworth.  Mr. Fitzsimons has 30 years experience working in both the metropolitan and rural New South Wales public health system. He has managed Health Linen, Pathology and Corporate Services and was the General Manager of Tamworth and Armidale Hospitals. Mr Fitzsimons was the last CEO of New England Area Health Service and Deputy Administrator of Hunter New England Health. He is currently the General Manager of Centacare New England North West.

​Peter Johnston

Peter Johnston, from Tamworth. Mr Johnston has worked in the community services sector in Tamworth for the past 10 years. Peter too has worked in both the public and private sectors and has a range of experience in corporate governance and business and financial management.

​Ian Kamerman

Dr Ian Kamerman, from Tamworth.  Dr Kamerman’s current appointments and background includes: Adjunct Senior Lecturer with Universities of New England, Newcastle and Wollongong; Practice Principal, Northwest Health, Tamworth; VMO Tamara Private Hospital; Director North West Slopes Division of General Practice; President, Rural Doctors Liaison Committee; Senior Fellow of the Company Director’s Association; member of the former Hunter New England Health Area Health Advisory Council.

​Lyn Raines

Lyn Raines, from Forster. Ms Raines is a private practitioner Occupational Therapist who has an extensive service in health both in nursing and occupational therapy. Her work experience has encompassed diverse areas of health as well as work in rural and remote centres including the Torres Straits and Far North Western Queensland. She remains committed to quality client care and advocacy with specific focus to those individuals with disabilities to remain independent within their own environment 

​Janelle Speed

Janelle Speed, from Deepwater.  Mrs Speed’s background includes former appointments as Lecturer, Schools of Rural Medicine and Health, University of New England; Adjunct Lecturer with the Universities of New England and Newcastle; member of the former Hunter New England Health Area Health Advisory Council.  

Ben Wilkins.jpg

Ben Wilkins

​Ben Wilkins, from Newcastle, has a background in pharmacy having been a registered pharmacist since 1994 and an accredited pharmacist providing Medicare services in collaboration with GPs. He is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

Ben’s current appointments include roles in the regulatory, not-for-profit, for-profit and government service sectors including as a member-elected non-executive Director with Hunter Primary Care; a NSW practitioner member on the Pharmacy Board of Australia; and a Digital Health Officer in collaboration with the Australian Digital Health Agency via the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN). 

Outside his focus on medicine and information technology, Ben has a particular passion for preventative lifestyle measures to improve the community’s health and wellbeing.

Stephen Pryde.jpg

​Stephen Pryde

Dr Stephen Pryde, from Newcastle, is a Paediatrician and former Director of Paediatric Ambulatory Care at the Central Coast Local Health District. Dr Pryde completed his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at Sydney University, and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, as well as being a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. With over 30 years of clinical experience in Paediatrics and child health in NSW, Stephen has a particular interest in clinical improvement and patient safety, child and adolescent behavioural and mental health issues, and the health of our indigenous children.