Chair, Ms Karen Howard has today announced her resignation from the Board of the Hunter
Medicare Local (HML), effective immediately.
Ms Howard’s decision to resign from the Board was made due to her need to focus on other
commitments and imminent new directions.
“I am very honoured to have had this opportunity to serve the Hunter community as the HML
Board Chair. The past five years have been a challenging and dynamic time in primary health
care and it has been my privilege to have played a part in Australia’s healthcare reforms. It is
also pleasing to leave behind an organisation that has been found, by a recent review by the
Department of Health, to have exemplary practices in the areas of finance and governance,” Ms
“I am particularly grateful for having had the opportunity to work with a very dedicated and
committed staff, who have the best interest of the health of the Hunter at heart and who work
tirelessly to make improvements to the way services are delivered. Further, I am confident that
the strength of both the Board and the Executive team will ensure the great work will continue,”
Ms. Howard said.
It has been announced today that the Deputy Chair, Dr Trent Watson, CEO Ethos Health will
take on the responsibility of interim Chair until the board has appointed a new Chair.
UPDATE: 5 sept 2014
Hunter Medicare Local is very pleased to announce that Dr Trent Watson is the
organisation’s new Chair, with Dr Belinda Guest being appointed as Deputy Chair.
Trent is recognised as one of the Hunter’s leading health advocates with a passion to
bring primary health clinicians together to develop innovative solutions to better manage
Trent is a practising dietitian and CEO of Ethos Health. Trent works in consultancy
positions with a number of professional sports organisations and advises to Channel 10’s
Biggest Loser program. Trent’s strong commitment to health promotion and desire to
improve health prevention strategies has seen him appointed as a media spokesperson
with the Dietitians Association of Australia.
Belinda is a GP with a special interest in GP training and corporate governance
development having previously been Chair of General Practice Registrars Australia Ltd
and also currently serving as a Director of General Practice Training Valley to Coast.
In announcing the new Board leadership team Hunter ML CEO John Baillie said “With the
primary health care sector undergoing such significant change and the government
signalling its desire to improve engagement with clinicians the appointment of Trent and
Belinda is very timely. Trent’s significant expertise in health promotion and Belinda’s
experience as a working GP places the organisation in a strong position as we move into
the new Primary Health Network environment”.
“As we welcome Trent and Belinda to their new positions we would also like to sincerely
thank Karen Howard for her four years of service as Chair and five years as a board
member. During Karen’s time as Chair the organisation saw exceptional growth, moving
from a Division of General Practice, to an urban based Medicare Local and finally to an
organisation that covered the Hunter and Manning regions that encompassed 12 Local
Government Areas with a population of nearly 700 000 people. There is no doubt that the
future will bring new challenges but we can thank Karen for laying a solid groundwork to
tackle those challenges head on”.