Our structure

Organisational structure

The WA Country Health Service (WACHS) is a State Government statutory authority under the Health Services Act 2016. The legislation, which came into effect on 1 July 2016, replaced the Hospitals and Health Services Act 1927 and involved the establishment of boards that are legally responsible and accountable for delivering safe, high-quality, efficient and economical health services to their local communities.

From 1 July 2016, the WACHS Board commenced as the governing body for WACHS. It comprises highly capable and committed professionals with a diverse range of experience across the fields of medicine and health care, finance, law and community and consumer engagement. The board works closely with the Chief Executive, who manages the day-to-day organisational operations to deliver safe, high-quality and efficient health services to local communities.

Board Chair 

Dr Neale Fong

Neale FongDr Neale Fong is a registered medical practitioner with over 35 years’ experience in a wide range of leadership roles in the private and public hospital systems.

He is currently Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Director of Bethesda Health Care, Professor of Healthcare Leadership at Curtin University, and a director of several health companies. He is President of the Australasian College of Health Service Management, and Chair of the International Hospital Federation Global Healthcare Management Special Interest Group. He was Project Lead to the Australian Health Ministers Council in developing Australia’s first Health Leadership Development Capability Framework. Dr Fong has been the Director General of the WA Department of Health, CEO of St John of God Hospital Subiaco and Director of the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute at Curtin University.

Dr Fong was the Chairman and Commissioner of the WA Football Commission for 12 years, and was Chaplain to the West Coast Eagles Football Club for 22 years. He has Bachelor’s degrees in medicine and surgery, a Masters in Theological Studies and a Masters of Business Administration.

Dr Fong was awarded the Gold Medal of Australasian College of Health Service Management in 2019, named a finalist in the 2010 WA Citizen of the Year Awards and awarded a Centenary Medal in 2011 for services to healthcare by the Australian Government.


Deputy Board Chair

Ms Wendy Newman

Ms Wendy NewmanWendy has extensive experience in individual, organisational and regional development. In addition to her role as Deputy Chair of the WA Country Health Service Board, Wendy is on the Board of Regional Development Australia, Wheatbelt and is Deputy Chair of Directions Workforce Solutions.

Wendy has extensive experience in working at all levels of government to develop strategy and drive reform. More recently, this effort has been applied to driving collaboration across local government boundaries on priority development issues, assisting in the development of sustainable child care services and developing and delivering innovative models for aged care in regional settings.

Wendy has a Masters in Commerce (Management), a Bachelor of Education and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Board members

Alan Ferris

Mr Alan FerrisAlan Ferris is the Director of Corporate Services at the City of Melville. Alan has also had his own consulting business and led the consulting team at BDO, a large accounting firm. He has significant experience in government and not-for-profit sectors. He has worked in the Senior Executive Service of the State Government in positions including General Manager of the Perth Theatre Trust and Director General of the Department of Culture and the Arts. He also held the position of Chief Financial Officer in Culture and the Arts for seven years.

Alan is the Chair of the Palmerston Association Incorporated, a not-for-profit provider of drug and alcohol counselling services. Besides working at the City of Melville, Alan’s previous experience in local government was as Mayor of the Town of East Fremantle for six years and a Councillor for eight years. Alan holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Information Systems), is a Certified Practising Accountant and also a Fellow of Leadership WA.

Outside of the finance industry, Alan enjoys all sports, especially soccer and golf, and spending time with his wife and two daughters. Alan chairs the WA Country Health Service Board Finance Committee.


Paul Fitzpatrick

Paul FitzpatrickPaul Fitzpatrick was a partner of Clayton Utz between 1 July 1985 and 30 September 2019 and practised in the areas of commercial litigation, competition law, national competition policy, international and domestic arbitration and sports law.

Paul is a former partner in charge of the Perth Office of Clayton Utz, and has conducted a wide range of complex litigation, including contractual disputes and cases relating to the Competition and Consumer Act, corporations law, professional negligence, and intellectual property.

Paul was named Competition Lawyer of the Year, Perth in 2013 by Best Lawyers Australia, and has been named by Best Lawyers as one of Australia’s Best Lawyers in litigation, competition and alternative dispute resolution.

Paul was a legal advisor to the Western Australian Football Commission and the West Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS), is a former director of WAIS, current director of the Wally Foreman Foundation Inc. and the Deputy Chairman of the West Coast Eagles.


Dr Daniel Heredia

Dr Daniel HerediaDr Daniel Heredia is the Executive General Manager of Health at HBF, and was formerly the Deputy CEO and Medical Director at Hollywood Private Hospital. He has previously worked as a Medical Advisor to Medicare Australia and prior to this, worked in clinical medicine at various hospitals in WA. Daniel chairs the registration committee for the Medical Board of Australia and is a former Director of the Australian Medical Association of Western Australia.

Daniel has completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery with Honours, an MBA with Distinction, and a Diploma of Public Health. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators and Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management.

Daniel is passionate about developing the next generation of leaders in the healthcare system. Outside work Daniel enjoys travelling and spending time with his young family.

Daniel chairs the WA Country Health Service Board Safety and Quality Committee.


Kelly Howlett

Ms Kelly HowlettKelly Howlett is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Pilbara charity, Bloodwood Tree Association Inc. Bloodwood Tree is a wholly Aboriginal controlled organisation that provides services to those in need, disadvantaged, unemployed and affected by alcohol and drugs in the Port/South Hedland and broader Pilbara area.

Kelly has made her life and career in the Pilbara, and most notably served as Mayor of the Town of Port Hedland for almost seven years until 2016.

Kelly was inducted into the Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame in March 2018 in recognition of her lengthy contribution to the Pilbara environment and community. Kelly has extensive governance experience and a keen interest in the social, natural environment and sustainability. Kelly has a Bachelor of Science (Environment)/Bachelor Forest Science (Honours), and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Dr Diane Mohen

Dr Diane MohenDr Diane Mohen was the former Medical Director of the statewide Obstetric Support Unit and former WA Country Health Service clinical lead in obstetrics and gynaecology.

She has had a career spanning more than 30 years, initially in general practice and then as a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist and has worked tirelessly to improve the health of rural women and babies in Western Australia.

Diane was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2016 and was joint winner of the Western Australian Minister for Health’s Award in 2017.

In addition to her role on the WA Country Health Service Board, Diane is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist.


Mary Anne Stephens

Mrs Mary-Anne StephensMary Anne is a senior executive with more than 25 years’ experience leading teams in the financial services, IT, aged care and not-for-profit sectors. She has extensive experience in strategy, finance, risk management, audit and governance. Mary Anne’s most recent executive position was Chief Financial Officer for Amana Living Incorporated.

Mary Anne is Chair of Diabetes WA, a Board member of Venues West, a non-executive director of Council on the Ageing (COTA) WA, and an external member of the Football West finance and audit sub-committee.

She holds a Master of Accounting degree, is a Fellow of CPA Australia, a Fellow of the Institute of Public Accountants, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (WA) and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mary Anne is passionate about the need to continually improve health outcomes within the WA community. Her goal is to leverage her skills and experience to contribute in a positive way to the WA Country Health Service.

Mary Anne chairs the WA Country Health Service Board Audit and Risk Committee.


Hon Colin Holt

Mr Colin Holt Colin has expertise and knowledge of regional communities, gained particularly from his long experience as a regional Parliamentarian. He was a Member for the South West Region in the Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia from 2009 to 2021 including Minister for Housing; Racing and Gaming and various Parliamentary Secretary roles.

Prior to entering Parliament, he was a foundation partner of a community development organisation ARID, and has held various professional and technical roles in the Department of Agriculture WA.  

Colin is a board member of Racing and Wagering Western Australia and Deputy Chair of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Board of WA. He is also the Western Australian representative for Racing Australia.

He holds a Bachelor of Science and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Board communiques

View the highlights, key discussions and considerations from our Board meetings.

Last Updated: 19/07/2022