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Mater Mental Health

HNET Mission statement

"A commitment to a high quality training program, early identification of potential trainees, retaining high quality medical staff and matching training needs to service needs and vice versa. The development of ethical, highly skilled, quality oriented consultants committed to developing similar qualities in medical students, junior doctors, and other mental health staff. This will be achieved through the provision of the best possible training environment and clinical care. This workforce will provide excellent, integrated, seamless clinical care and will communicate and partner effectively with patients and their carers and families, and with internal and external stakeholders."

About Us

The Hunter New England Mental Health Psychiatry Training Program (HNET) is the only regional based psychiatry training program in Australia and New Zealand. It is a mid-sized program with sufficient trainees at each level to make progressing through the training requirements sustainable, but still retains its collegiate and "personal-touch" nature. HNET operates under the auspices of both the RANZCP and NSW HETI (Health Education & Training Institute).

Advantages of the program include:

  • A comprehensive service within Hunter New England Local Health District with all areas of training being covered.
  • Living in a regional city with relatively low cost of living and ideal climate.
  • Alliance with the University of Newcastle's Centre for Brain & Mental Health Research (CBMHR) and the Hunter Medical Research Institute with a large number of nationally recognised researchers aligned with the program.
  • A number of senior staff hold prominent positions within the College training and examination committees.

Further information about the training program can be obtained by contacting HNELHD-MESOPsych@health.nsw.gov.au or calling 4033 5157.

The Formal Education Course (FEC) for trainees occurs every Wednesday afternoon at the Mater Hospital, with Grand Rounds from 1.30pm and teaching from 2.40pm. Time to attend the FEC during work hours is provided to trainees from the service. Separate training occurs for Stage 1 trainees, Stage 2 trainees, pre-examination trainees, and advanced trainees. Junior Medical Officers (PGY1 and 2) also have a separate training program.

Rates of passing examinations in HNET are on average higher than the state and bi-national averages.

HNET has offices in Level 7 of the MHA Building at the Mater Hospital in Edith St, Waratah.

Why Psychiatry as a career?

There is some truth that certain types of doctors are more inclined towards psychiatry as a career and that psychiatry is not for everyone.

A variety of studies matched with our local experience indicate that doctors with the following characteristics have both an aptitude and interest in psychiatry:

  • Have a holistic outlook on patient care
  • Enjoyed social sciences at school and university
  • Rate communication skills highly
  • Are interested in being members of a team of health workers
  • Are comfortable in situations where the right course of action is not always obvious
  • Understand and can empathise with the stigma attached to mental illness

Many psychiatry trainees also considered careers in general practice and medicine. Psychiatry offers a diversity of experiences, patient types and modes of working from psychotherapy to neuropsychiatry, from child to old age, from leading a public mental health service to developing a private practice. Psychiatry is never boring!

District hospitals

Mental health facilities located in District hospitals in the Hunter New England Local Health District include:

  • HNE Mental Health Centre at The Mater Hospital
  • Morisset Hospital (Kaoriki, Willaroo, Kestrel, Cottages)
  • Maitland Mental Health Unit at The Maitland Hospital
  • Manning Mental Health Service at Taree Hospital
  • Tamworth Mental Health Unit (Banksia) at Tamworth Hospital
  • Armidale Clark Centre at Armidale Hospital
  • CL Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent inpatient unit (Nexus) at the John Hunter Hospital

Contact details of mental health facilities are available by clicking this link.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP)
  • The RANZCP is the College that overviews Psychiatry Training in Australia and New Zealand. Its main headquarters is in Melbourne but there are branches in each State including NSW at Rozelle in Sydney.
  • The RANZCP training program is a minimum five year program. To enter you must have completed a medical degree or your AMC in Australia and at least one year internship.
  • The first year is called 'Stage 1' training, with the second and third year called 'Stage 2' training. It is during this time that you undergo the bulk of your Adult psychiatry experiences, as well as mandatory 6-month rotations in Consultation Liaison psychiatry and Child & Adolescent psychiatry.
  • During training, you are required to undertake a number of Workplace-Based Assessments (WBAs), and attend a Formal Education Course (FEC) for your first three years, which in HNET is organised on Wednesday afternoons and is protected teaching time for 40 weeks of the year. You will also be required to pass written examinations and an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), as well as write a psychological case report and conduct a scholarly project.
  • Two years of Stage 3 (Advanced) training can be in any of the following areas: General, Adult, Child, Old Age, Forensics, Consultation Liaison, Psychotherapy, Addiction, and Neuropsychiatry.
Health Education and Training Institute

The Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) has leadership responsibility for the education and training of clinicians and clinical support staff in NSW Health. HETI works closely with local health divisions and other public health organisations and clinical training providers to develop and deliver clinical education and training across the NSW public health system. Many institutions — universities, professional colleges, public and private hospitals, state and federal government bodies — are involved in training our doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. HETI aims to coordinate, connect and complete the training of NSW clinicians, to help create effective clinical teams, and to uphold a high standard of patient care throughout the NSW health system.


Hunter New England Mental Health provides some fantastic opportunities for research through the Centre for Brain & Mental Health Research (CBMHR) and various other opportunities for the Scholarly Projects undertaken by psychiatry trainees.

Contact Us

Mental Health Administration Building, Level 7
The Mater Hospital
Edith Street
Waratah  NSW  2298

Postal Address:
PO Box 833
Newcastle NSW 2300

Country Code: +61 02 4033 5156

Email: HNELHD-HNET@health.nsw.gov.au

Our people

Dr Harsimrat Sandhu
Director of Training (DOT)
Phone: (02) 4033 5158
Email: harsimrat.sandhu@health.nsw.gov.au

Dr Anand Swamy
Executive Director | HNE Mental Health Services
Phone: (02) 4033 5156
Email: anand.swamy@health.nsw.gov.au

Dr Vinodkumar Raveendran
Director of Prevocational Education & Training (DPET) & Specialist Coordinator of Training (SCoT) for CL Psychiatry
Phone: (02) 4033 5155
Email: vinodkumar.raveendran@health.nsw.gov.au
Jaime RennieJaime Rennie
Medical Education Support Officer (MESO)
Phone: (02) 4033 5157
Email: HNELHD-MESOpsych@health.nsw.gov.au

Karen Ruberto
Team Leader Medical Administration
Email: HNELHD-HNET@health.nsw.gov.au
Executive Assistant to Director of Medical Services, Dr Anand Swamy
Phone: (02) 4033 5152
Email: karen.ruberto@health.nsw.gov.au

Kaylee Standen & Belinda Reynolds
Medical Administration Officers
Phone: (02) 4033 5156
Email: HNELHD-HNET@health.nsw.gov.au


Linda Clowe & Jaye Hoelscher
Psychiatry Training Officers
Phone: (02) 4033 5155
Email: HNELHD-PsychTrain@health.nsw.gov.au


A/Prof. Lisa Lampe
Specialist Coordinator of Training (SCOT) for Assessments & CBT
Phone: (02) 4033 5157

Email: lisa.lampe@newcastle.edu.au


Prof. Michael Breakspear
Specialist Coordinator of Training (SCOT) for Scholarly Project
Phone: (02) 4033 5155

Email: michael.breakspear@newcastle.edu.au


Dr Nick Bendit
Specialist Coordinator of Training (SCOT) for Adult Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Phone: (02) 4033 5131

Email: nick.bendit@health.nsw.gov.au


Dr Deepika Yerrakalva
Specialist Coordinator of Training (SCOT) for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Phone: (02) 4985 5800

Email: deepika.yerrakalva@health.nsw.gov.au


Dr Sachin Rai
Specialist Coordinator of Training (SCOT for Rural Psychiatry)
Phone: (02) 4973 0391

Email: sachin.rai@health.nsw.gov.au


Dr Jacqueline Coupland, Dr Henry Casserly & Dr Nicholas Frawley
Education Registrars
Phone: (02) 4033 5155  

Email: jacqueline.coupland@health.nsw.gov.au

Email: henry.casserly@health.nsw.gov.au

Email: nicholas.frawley@health.nsw.gov.au


Fiona Kelly
Joint Medical Program (JMP) Project Officer (University of Newcastle)
Phone: (02) 4033 5185
Mobile: 0435 870 840

Email: fiona.kelly@health.nsw.gov.au