Long-standing champion for health system integration leaves on a high

Natasha Capon |29 Oct, 2021 | All Articles, Equity |

People from across the health system bid farewell to a long-standing champion of the alliance, Dr Lynley Cook, this month.  

A permanent move to Dunedin sees Lynley step down from roles across the Canterbury Clinical Network (CCN) including chairing the Population Health and Access Service Level Alliance (PH&ASLA) and System Outcomes Steering Group (SOSG).   

At the September Alliance Leadership Team (ALT) meeting, where Lynley presented on work around the Pae Ora ki Waitaha project, members took the opportunity to say goodbye virtually. 

Dr Don Elder, Independent Chair of CCN, thanked Lynley for all her exceptional work in the Population Health area and other contributions to CCN’s work and design thinking methodology.   
Wendy Dallas-Katoa, ALT’s Māori perspective member, expressed her enjoyment at working with Lynley and appreciation at the equity lens and expertise she brought. “I've so enjoyed working alongside you – you’ve had the lens of equity before equity became a fashionable word.” 

Having known Lynley for around 40 years, Jane Cartwright spoke of Lynley’s commitment to the Canterbury health system and highlighted the seed planted at the ALT meeting through her leadership of the Pae Ora ki Waitaha project. “We need to recognise your commitment to the Canterbury Health System, it’s in your soul. It’s the seed you've sown today – if we keep people at the centre then good things will happen.” 

Kim Sinclair-Morris thanked Lynley for being a champion across the alliance and for her willingness to tackle the challenging topics.  Kim suggested it was a fitting way for Lynley to end her involvement with the Pae Ora ki Waitaha project's progress on CCN’s first strategic objective. 

At October’s Population Health and Access SLA meeting, members took the opportunity to say goodbye in person, presenting Lynley with a bouquet of flowers.  

Koral Fitzgerald, CCN’s Senior Project Facilitator, said: “Whilst I'm relatively new in facilitating this space, I’ve loved working alongside you for your leadership, tenacity, effort and determination in progressing the various projects, with a particular note to the Pae Ora ki Waitaha and Partnership in Design work.  

“Someone once said ‘wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it’. You’ve done so much mahi in progressing these important system resources.” 

Linda Wensley, Acting Executive Director of CCN, said: “Lynley has made such an outstanding contribution to our health system. She has both identified ways to make substantive changes in how we go about improving the wellbeing of our community and had the courage and conviction to lead the change needed  to make it happen – and always in a respectful and collaborative way.”

“As SOSG Chair, Lynley lead the development of the first Canterbury System Level Measures Plan Framework and as PH&ASLA Chair successfully focussed on defined projects, such as Interpreter Services and research on accessing general practice, as well as wide transformational changes,” says Linda. 

“Lynley also helped to design the Te Hā – Waitaha Smokefree Support service, worked with Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) to develop a PHO Population Health Plan and established Motivating Conversations as a foundation education programme for general practice. Your leadership, humour and commitment to doing the right thing’ will be missed greatly Lynley.” 

As Chair of the previous group Flexible Funding Pool, Laila Cooper, Alliance Support Team (AST) member noted that Lynley was an integral founding member of that group. “We’ve worked together a long time on the topic of public health and access and you were the natural lead of this next stage. You leave behind a great legacy.” 

Lynley acknowledged all the kind comments and that her contribution has been as part of a bigger team through the alliancing approach. “Our work is never done. It has been a real privilege to be part of the alliancing work across Canterbury over the past 11 years.   

“There is something almost magical with the ethos that we have - operating as a system that puts people at the centre by acting as system and not as individual organisations or individual people.  I hope we never lose this in Canterbury.

“I’m excited about all of you who are so invested in this work – I’m not at all concerned leaving – it’s in capable hands.” 

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