From Mid-April, come and see us in our new rooms at 1/710 Hunter Street

About Brightwell HEalth

Brightwell Health is the brainchild of two like-minded, passionate GP specialists. Dr Phoebe Walsh and Dr Kate Haggar have been friends and colleagues for over a decade, crossing paths at various points in their careers before finally joining together to create this specialised clinic. Their ambition is to provide the best possible patient care across all aspects of reproductive and sexual health.

They made the decision to combine forces and create this new, specialised healthcare offering, after watching the struggle of patients to access these essential services. With the hospitals and specialists overwhelmed, and/or out of the reach of many, and local services unable to keep up with demand, it became apparent that more could be done to meet the needs of local people.

As experienced GPs, sharing a passion for all things related to obstetrics, gynaecology, reproductive rights and sexual health, it seemed like a natural pairing. They hope to offer a boutique, specialist GP clinic to patients needing help in these areas. No referral is required, and they hope to bring other doctors and allied healthcare practitioners into the team with time, one day creating a complete multi disciplinary and well supported healthcare service.

Their start within Appletree Family practice was a wonderful ‘next step’ for Dr Walsh who had worked for many years with the experienced and wonderful Appletree family practice team.

Moving from her role as a General Practitioner within the practice, caring for all patients and all ailments, to combine forces with Dr Haggar and be able to focus more on their passion, and area of expertise, was dream come true for both of them. Brightwell Health is something truly unique, and important for the Newcastle community.

Our Team

General practice

Dr Phoebe Walsh

Phoebe (she/her) grew up in Newcastle and is proud to call herself a Novocastrian. Phoebe studied Medical Science at UNSW and Medicine at the University of Sydney, before coming back to Newcastle to finish her GP training.

Phoebe has a Diploma from the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Obstetricians and gynaecologist (DRANZCOG), and holds a FPAA National Certificate in Reproductive and Sexual Health.

These qualifications are in addition to her years of work as a GP both within a busy medical centre, and working at Family Planning NSW.

She is a certified trainer and inserter for both hormonal and copper intrauterine devices, and contraceptive implants.

Phoebe is a passionate supporter of reproductive rights and is currently leading a project with Family Planning NSW which focuses on improving access to Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) and abortion care in regional NSW.

Dr Kate Haggar

Kate (she/her) is a GP Specialising in reproductive and sexual health.

Kate is passionate about providing patient-centred, supportive, medical care across all areas of reproductive and sexual health and is a strong advocate for reproductive rights. Kate studied Medicine at Newcastle University, and since then has continued to follow her passion for women’s health care, sexual and reproductive health, and pregnancy care. Kate has worked across several GP clinics, and specialised sexual health clinics both in Newcastle, the Central coast and Sydney, before establishing her own independent Women’s Health Clinic in Port Macquarie. Through her patient advocacy work with the local health district, she helped establish a care pathway for women struggling with complications from terminations of pregnancy, and her own clinic became one of the first clinics to offer abortion care on the Mid North Coast.

She recently returned to Newcastle with her family, and works across several roles including as a GP VMO at John Hunter Hospital in the Early Pregnancy Assessment Service/Acute Gynaecology Service and Antenatal Clinic, as well as a Forensic Medical examiner for the Newcastle Sexual Assault Service.

Kate has undertaken extended training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, completing a Diploma in Obstetrics & Gynaecology (DRANZCOG) which incorporates the Women’s Health Certificate as well completing the FPAA National Certificate in Sexual & Reproductive Health. Kate is a trained and experienced IUD inserter (Hormonal and copper devices), as well as Implanon inserter.

As such Kate can help with sexual health issues as well as reproductive health concerns for either men or women, and offer a full range of family planning services including shared antenatal care.

Dr Gemma Halliday

Gemma has a particular interest in reproductive and sexual health and approaches each patient in a holistic manner across the full range of life stages. She has extensive experience in managing sexually transmitted infections, sexual dysfunction, menstrual cycle issues and menopause along with offering tailored contraceptive advice. Gemma is also skilled in pregnancy options counselling and preconception counselling along with providing shared antenatal care. Gemma completed her medical degree at the University of Sydney in 2008 before moving to Newcastle in 2011 to attain her fellowship in the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. She completed the Sexual Health and Family Planning Australia Certificate in Sexual and Reproductive Health in 2013.

Gemma also works as a Forensic Medical Examiner for the Newcastle Sexual Assault Service and has specialised training in providing trauma informed care and responding to domestic and family violence. 

When not at work, Gemma loves spending time with her husband and two children and enjoys travelling, cooking and walking her giant dog Malo.

Dr Georgina Girdler

Georgina is a specialist GP with additional qualifications in paediatrics and women’s health including sexual health, pregnancy, breastfeeding and infant care. She completed her undergraduate and medical degrees at Wollongong University in 2015 and pursued medical specialisation working in and around Newcastle. Georgina has spent several years in the NSW Snowy Mountains region working in both the hospital obstetric service and rural general practice. Family medicine is her passion and so Georgina enjoys managing children’s health, fertility and menopause. Georgina also enjoys the complexity of general medicine and chronic disease management. Outside of work Georgina enjoys spending time outdoors with her own young family adventuring around the national parks and coastal hideaways.

Dr Sally Sweeney

Sally graduated from University of NSW in 2003 and has over 20 years clinical experience. She has expertise in sexual and reproductive medicine and is heavily involved in clinical research. Sally can assist with a range of issues and healthcare including:

  • Preconception Care and Antenatal Shared Care
  • Pregnancy Options including Medical Termination of pregnancy
  • Contraception advice and provision including tailored pill prescribing and insertion of Implanon, Mirena, Kyleena and Copper IUDs
  • Menopause healthcare
  • Period problems and management
  • Sexual healthcare for women and men (including STI screening and treatment)
  • Vulvovaginal health concerns
  • Well Women’s Screening
  • Recruitment to clinical trials as available

Sally additionally works in private General Practice, on the GP Access After Hours Clinic Roster and is a Visiting Medical Officer with the Hunter New England Voluntary Assisted Dying Service.

Sally is Medical Lead at Family Planning Australia Research Centre and is a Conjoint Senior Lecturer with the School of Medicine & Public Health, University of Newcastle. She holds the FPAA Certificate in Sexual & Reproductive Health. She has been a past clinical examiner for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and is a current RACGP Registrar supervisor. She has several peer reviewed publications in sexual and reproductive health and is currently a Chief Investigator on several NHMRC research grant projects.

In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family and her cheeky labradoodle, running, cycling, reading good books, and enjoying good food and wine.

Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Dr Ashmita Desai

Dr Ashmita Desai is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with a special interest in minimally invasive and pelvic floor surgery, including excision of endometriosis and other complex gynaecological procedures.

She is a caring, soft-spoken, and empathetic specialist with over a decade of experience in all areas of obstetric and gynaecological practice. She is dedicated to providing patient-centric, evidence-based care and advocates for a comprehensive approach to women’s health.

She completed her FRANZCOG Training Program at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle and the Hunter New England Health Network, Australia. She has done a year as the Gynaecological Oncology Fellow at Hunter Centre for Gynaecological Cancers at John Hunter Hospital and is continuing to further her skills in Advanced Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery through the Advanced Gynaecologic Endoscopic Surgical Fellowship in Newcastle. She has practised in several rural, regional, and tertiary hospitals across Australia.

She completed her MBBS and specialist post-graduate training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, and St Martha’s Hospital in Bangalore, providing her with extensive experience in open and vaginal surgery.

Dr Ashmita currently sees private patients in her rooms at Newcastle Private Hospital, until she joins Brightwell Health in April 2024. She operates privately at Newcastle Private Hospital and Lingard Private Hospital. In addition, Dr Ashmita holds a Staff Specialist position at Maitland Hospital.

Dr. Frida Carswell

Dr. Frida Carswell is a leading Urogynaecologist specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the female urinary system and pelvic floor. She has expertise in all facets of gynaecological practice and surgery, including advanced and minimally invasive procedures, with special interest in management of pelvic organ prolapse, urinary and faecal incontinence, bladder disorders including pain and recurrent urinary tract infections, birth injuries, fistulas and complications from mesh procedures.

Dr. Carswell is dedicated to improving the quality of life for women. She believes in holistic care, empowering women by involving them in their healthcare decisions, and prioritizing their comfort and well-being.

Originally from Sweden, Dr. Carswell studied medicine at the University of Newcastle in Australia. After graduating, she completed specialist training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Sydney and Newcastle.

Dr Carswell then pursued extensive sub-specialty training in Urogynaecology, becoming one of the select few Gynaecologists to undergo an additional three years of specialised training, completing a Fellowship in Urogynaecology at St. Thomas Hospital in London.

Dedicated to advancing her field, and caring for women in the Hunter New England Area, Dr. Carswell holds a staff specialist position at John Hunter Hospital, actively engages in research, and serves as a conjoint lecturer at the University of Newcastle. She also contributes to shaping the future of Urogynaecology as a board member of the Urogynaecology Association of Australia.

Dr Carswell has operating lists at several hospitals in the Newcastle area, including Lingard Private Hospital, Lake Macquarie Private Hospital, John Hunter Hospital, and Belmont Hospital.

Vasectomy

Dr. Tim Berwick

Dr Tim Berwick is a Vasectomy Specialist and General Practitioner, with a Bachelor of medicine (BMed), FRACGP, DipCH, and proud Newcastle local. Specialising in no-scalpel vasectomies, Tim offers high quality care for his patients, in a supportive, professional environment – with a goal to minimise the anxiety associated with getting a vasectomy.

“I really enjoy and take pride in my work. Vasectomy is an important service to provide - it's low cost and low risk. I believe I provide a high standard of care, not only in the surgery itself but in ensuring my patients are appropriately informed and followed up with, while also making sure they feel as comfortable as possible throughout

Dr Tim is also an avid football player and fan alike, loves to cook (and enjoy eating his creations!) and is a valued member of the Brightwell Health team!

Psychology

Amanda Fletcher - Clinical Psychologist

Amanda (she/her) is a clinical psychologist with a warm and genuine therapeutic style. She has worked as a psychologist in Newcastle since 2010, and has experience supporting people through a range of mental health concerns, including mood disorders, anxiety, trauma, grief and loss, stress, chronic pain, substance use, and relationship difficulties.

Amanda is passionate about supporting individuals through life challenges and helping them achieve personal goals. She holds a special interest in perinatal and women's health, bringing a nuanced understanding of the unique psychological aspects associated with various stages of a woman's life.

Amanda's treatment approach is compassionate and personalised, tailoring therapeutic interventions to meet the unique needs and goals of each individual. She uses a wide range of evidence-based therapy methods, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy, DBT Skills, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness techniques.

Amanda prioritises an inclusive, supportive, and safe therapy space with a focus on holistic and trauma-sensitive care. She acknowledges and respects the diverse neurological experiences of individuals.

A graduate of the University of Newcastle, Amanda completed her Masters of Clinical Psychology with distinction, and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Psychology), on un-ceded Awabakal Land. Amanda holds full registration with clinical endorsement from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and is a Board Approved Supervisor, with a commitment to professional development and mentorship within the field of psychology.

Maz Jenkins - Clinical Psychologist

Maz (she/her) is a clinical psychologist who lives and works on Awabakal land. She is passionate about working alongside people as they overcome challenges and advocate for their wellbeing. She has worked in public multidisciplinary teams for seven years, with adults and young people experiencing difficulties with substance use, mood disorders, trauma, acute pain, anxiety and with individuals presenting with chronic pain. She has a special interest in working with young people and adults to develop a greater understanding of the connection between the mind and body. She works with individuals presenting with issues including:

  • chronic pain
  • adjusting to procedures and acute pain
  • complex trauma/ PTSD
  • low mood and anxiety
  • substance use concerns
  • young people encountering life transitions

She is a collaborative, reflective and warm therapist who is trained in a number of evidence-based approaches including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Enhanced CBT and Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy. She is committed to inclusive and safe practice that prioritises people finding meaning in their life and feeling more connected to their communities and themselves.

Maz completed her Masters of Clinical Psychology from Curtin University in 2016 with high distinction, and Bachelor of Science with honours in psychology from UNSW. Maz holds full registration with clinical endorsement from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and is a Board Approved Supervisor.

Physiotherapy

Laura Coventry

Laura is the founder and lead physiotherapist of PhysioFemina, a dedicated women’s health physiotherapy service.

Laura's personal dedication to fitness gives her firsthand insight into the frustrations women may encounter when unable to engage in their desired physical activities. With this understanding, she guides patients through their rehabilitation journey, helping them regain confidence and return to exercise transformed.

Laura's approach is rooted in core values—Connect, Inspire, Grow, and Collaboration—underpinning her dedication to healthcare. She prioritizes building strong connections with patients, inspiring positive change, fostering growth through education, and promoting collaboration between patients and healthcare professionals.

Laura offers tailored treatment plans and a nurturing environment for women of all ages and life stages. Whether addressing pelvic floor issues, musculoskeletal concerns, or providing support during pregnancy and postpartum, Laura empowers women to take control of their health, regain confidence, and lead vibrant lives.

Rebecca MArtin

Rebecca Martin is a mother of two children, married to a husband passionate about mountain biking, and is an avid sportswoman herself.

Sport has always held significant importance in her life, serving as meditation during times of needing clarity, fostering friendships through shared experiences like cycling long distances, and providing a valid excuse to indulge in chocolate.

Following the birth of her son, Rebecca experienced firsthand the transformative changes in her body and embarked on a journey to rediscover her 'new normal' while rebuilding her strength. This journey led her to specialize in physiotherapy for women's health, driven by the belief that exercise empowers women, strengthens their bodies, and when undertaken safely, plays a vital role in promoting healthy pregnancies, births, and postpartum recovery.

With over 20 years of experience as a UK-trained physiotherapist, Rebecca holds a postgraduate certificate in clinical physiotherapy and a Masters in women's health physiotherapy from Curtin University, Perth. She serves as a visiting lecturer for Curtin University and as an Instructor for the Australia Physiotherapy Association.

Rebecca offers a unique and specialized physiotherapy service tailored specifically for women in the local Newcastle area, providing treatments, classes, and workshops aimed at supporting women's bodies through pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

How to delete your history

Your privacy is important to us. If you need to delete your browsing history, instructions below explain how to do this for most browsers.

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More More.
  3. Click History and then History.
  4. On the left, click Clear browsing data. A box will appear.
  5. From the drop-down menu, select how much history you want to delete. To clear everything, select All time.
  6. Check the boxes for the info you want Chrome to clear, including “browsing history.” Learn more about the types of browsing data you can delete
  7. Click Clear data.

To delete your search history, learn about clearing activity saved in My Activity.

  1. Click the menu button Fx89menuButton to open the menu panel.
  2. Click History and select Clear Recent History…
  3. Select how much history you want to clear:
    • Click the drop-down menu next to Time range to clear to choose how much of your history Firefox will clear (the last hour, the last two hours, the last four hours, the current day or everything).
    fx100-ClearRecentHistory
  4. Click the OK button. The window will close and the items you’ve selected will be cleared from your history.

Safari for Mac

  1. Click the Safari menu, then Clear History…
  2. In the Clear field choose All History
  3. Click Clear History.

Safari for PC

  1. Click on the Settings (Gear) icon in the upper right corner of the browser..
  2. Click Reset Safari
  3. Select the items you wish to clear. (It is recommended to check all items).
  4. Click Reset.

Mobile Safari for iOS (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad)

To clear cache and cookies:

  1. From the home screen, Select Settings > Safari.
  2. At the bottom of Safari’s settings screen, Select Clear cookies and data or Clear Cookies and Clear Cache.
  3. Confirm when prompted.

To clear history:

  1. From the home screen, tap Safari.
  2. At the bottom of the screen, tap the Bookmarks icon.
  3. In the lower left, tap Clear.
  4. Tap Clear History.
To clear your browsing data in Microsoft Edge:
  1. Select Settings and more  > Settings  > Privacy, search, and services .
  2. Under Clear browsing data Clear browsing data now, select Choose what to clear.
  3. Under Time range, choose a time range from the drop-down menu.
  4. Choose the types of browsing data you want to clear (see the table here for descriptions). For example, you may want to remove browsing history and cookies but keep passwords and form fill data.
  5. Select Clear now.