Leanne Wells stepping down as CEO

After a tenure of more than seven years at the helm of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF), current CEO Ms Leanne Wells has advised the Board of her wish to step down from the role.

Ms Wells has led CHF since April 2015 during a time of great change and opportunity in healthcare, not least of which has been an unprecedented pandemic that stretched our system and all that work within it and in support of it.

Under Leanne's leadership, CHF has grown and strengthened as an organisation. We have achieved significant financial sustainability and benefitted from several new partnerships. We have made contributions to several areas of priority for consumers including primary care, preventive health, medicines policy, digital health, health care safety and quality and private health insurance.

Leanne led some pioneering work in consumer leadership development through the Collaborative Pairs Program, brought concepts such as social prescribing into the national policy agenda, and has introduced ways to diversify the consumer voice in influencing policy including Australia’s Health Panel and the Australian Health Consumer Sentiment Survey.

Leanne led the development of the White Paper, Shifting Gears: Consumers Transforming Health. This describes CHF’s ambition for the health system, the current and future roles we see consumers taking in system innovation and improvement, and made recommendations about how we should further support and strengthen these roles.

Another significant initiative overseen by Leanne was the Consumer Commission and the resultant CHF report "Making Health Better Together". The report was shaped by a diverse group of 30 consumer leaders from across Australia and also drew on interviews with national experts. The Commission was established by CHF in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure a strong consumer voice was helping to shape healthcare moving forward. CHF believes that meaningful partnerships with consumers are critical to ensuring we reimagine health and social care in a way that is person-centred and person-led after this significant period of disruption.

Leanne also led the Shifting Gears 2021 - Australia and New Zealand Consumer Experience and Leadership in Health Summit which provided powerful voices for change and called for full partnership with clinicians in designing health care into the future.

Leanne has advised the Board that she is looking forward to a career pause to enjoy some travel and to spend more time with her family. On behalf of the Board and Secretariat I would like to sincerely thank Leanne for her fabulous and creative leadership and undying loyalty, which has ensured CHF is genuinely the national peak advocacy body for the nation’s health consumers.

Leanne’s last day will be 12 August 2022.  

The Board is committed to ensuring a smooth transition to the new CEO.  A national search for CHF’s next CEO has commenced.

Tony Lawson


About the author

Tony Lawson

Tony Lawson is Chair of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia. He has been involved at the highest levels in consumer health for over a decade and continues to strive to provide decisive and strategic leadership to CHF representing the interests of Australian healthcare consumers.