On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to Dr Leanne Beagley for her achievements during a dynamic three years at the helm of the Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN).
Leanne joined us in early 2017, fresh, relaxed and unsuspecting, after a few months “sabbatical” finalising and submitting her Ph.D and completing the Company Directors’ Course.
At that time the new PHN structure was just over eight months old, and there was a considerable amount of work underway to develop and refine our approach to managing the implementation of the commissioning approach to service design and implementation in primary care.
Leanne tackled this work with considerable gusto and a strong commitment to supporting and enabling staff to deliver quality services to our region’s primary health providers and our broader stakeholders. She always sought better avenues of engagement with our primary health care providers in particular, and led the way in the development of a stakeholder engagement framework as well as a strategic engagement plan for the region.
There have been many challenges in our organisation over the last three years, including major staffing changes, funding reductions by the Commonwealth for core administrative functions, and a dramatic escalation of workload as the Commonwealth, and increasingly State, governments decided that PHNs were the best placed vehicle for development, commissioning and procurement of new programs. And in the last two months, the biggest of all challenges, coordinating a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been a number of pioneering programs trialled in WVPHN under Leanne’s leadership, including Doctors in Secondary Schools, SafeScript, and the successful and innovative HealthPathways pages for Farmer Health, and more recently COVID-19. Leanne has also initiated advocacy statements on important social issues which affect health outcomes in our region. These initiatives were wholeheartedly supported by the Board and include:
- Voluntary assisted dying legislation in July 2017
- Support of marriage equality
- Support for the PMs National Apology to victims of childhood sexual abuse
From the Board’s perspective, Leanne has been a highly competent, committed and empathetic CEO and has been exceptionally diligent in ensuring that Directors have all the information required to discharge their duties on the Board. Leanne’s belief in the important purpose of the work of the PHN and her dedication has been unwavering even through her own personal grief after the sad loss of her husband Bill last year.
Leanne’s deep knowledge and experience in the health sector, particularly in the area of mental health, has been of huge value as our commissioning work in this area has expanded. And it’s also one of the reasons that she is leaving us to take a significant national role in mental health. I’m sure all staff and directors will join me in thanking Leanne for her achievements over the last three years and wish her every success in her new role and (when travel restrictions permit) her new life in Canberra.
WVPHN Board Chair