The Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner

The National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner is an independent statutory officer appointed by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council.

The role was established on 1 July 2010, to coincide with the introduction of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (as in force in participating States and Territories). The purpose of the National Law is to create a national registration and accreditation scheme for health practitioners in 14 professions. In order to implement this scheme, the National Law establishes the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the 14 National Health Practitioner Boards, the AHPRA Management Committee and the Australian Health Workforce Advisory Council.

The role of this office is to provide ombudsman, privacy and freedom of information oversight of the national health practitioner regulation scheme, particularly in relation to the actions of AHPRA and the 14 National Health Practitioner Boards. In order to fulfil these functions, the National Law confers specified jurisdiction on the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner that is derived from the Ombudsman Act 1976 (Cwlth), the Privacy Act 1988 (Cwlth), and the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cwlth).

For efficiency, the separate Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner roles are combined in the single office of the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner.

Samantha Gavel

The current National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner is Samantha Gavel. Samantha was appointed in November 2014 for a term of three years.

As well as having a deep knowledge and understanding of Australia’s health system, Samantha has significant experience in complaints handling, dispute resolution and ombudsman work. Prior to taking on her current role, Samantha was the Commonwealth Private Health Insurance Ombudsman between 2008 and 2014. Samantha has also worked in senior administrative roles for both New South Wales and Commonwealth government organisations.

Samantha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sydney University. She is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an accredited mediator with LEADR. Samantha is a member of the Council of The Women’s College at the University of Sydney and an independent member of the Private Health Insurance Code of Conduct Compliance Committee.

Samantha is committed to ensuring that the public and health practitioners can have confidence in Australia’s national health practitioner regulation scheme, by providing ombudsman and privacy commissioner services that are independent, impartial and robust.

Samantha Gavel - National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner
Samantha Gavel - National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner