The Ombudsman and 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.

Richelle McCausland

Richelle McCausland is the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner. Richelle was appointed to the role on 4 May 2018 for a term of three years.

Richelle has significant experience in complaints handling and ombudsman work, as well as a strong understanding of the issues relevant to health practitioner regulation. Richelle has been a senior leader at the office of the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner since 2015 and previously worked with the office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Richelle holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts double degree from the University of Melbourne.

Richelle is committed to ensuring that the public and health practitioners have confidence in Australia’s national health practitioner regulation scheme, by providing ombudsman and commissioner services that are independent, fair and accessible.

Richelle McCausland, National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner