Meet the Ombudsman and Commissioner

Richelle McCausland is the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and the National Health Practitioner Privacy Commissioner

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Richelle McCausland is the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and National Health Practitioner Privacy Commissioner. She is currently serving her second term as Ombudsman and Commissioner after first being appointed to the role in May 2018.

Each complaint my office receives is important. We strive not only to resolve individual concerns but also to recognise the potential of each complaint to provide invaluable information about systemic issues that may also be affecting others.

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Ombudsman and Commissioner welcomes reappointment to the role

The Health Council recently announced the reappointment of Richelle McCausland to the roles of National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and National Health Practitioner Privacy Commissioner for a second term.

Message from Richelle McCausland

Hi there

I am delighted to have been reappointed as Ombudsman and Commissioner for a second term by the Health Council. It has been a privilege to serve in this capacity for the past three years.

My office has come a long way since it was created in 2010. We’ve seen an approximately fivefold increase in approaches to the office from 2014–15 to the last financial year. In response, we’ve adapted and implemented new mechanisms to ensure we provide an empathetic, fair and effective complaint-handling service.

My first term as Ombudsman and Commissioner marked a phase of transformation for the office. We focussed on improving our internal processes to demonstrate excellence and to create positive change in the regulation of Australia’s health practitioners. Highlights included:

  • implementing a new early resolution complaint transfer process with Ahpra to improve the complainant experience
  • upgrading our case management system to better track and report on complaints and trends
  • updating our website to make it more informative and accessible for our community.

A new phase for the NHPO

My vision for our next phase is based on four key strategic directions: influencing systemic improvements, engaging and communicating, building capacity, and enhancing accountability. We already have several exciting developments in the works including:

  • launching our new digital engagement strategy and social media presence to make sure that those who need our services can access them
  • enhancing accountability by implementing our new role in relation to the oversight of accreditation authorities. Please read more about our accreditation process review which is currently underway.

It has been a pleasure working with our community to strive for continuous improvement in the National Scheme.

I would like to personally thank all of those who have worked alongside myself and my office in this pursuit.

Richelle McCausland

National Health Practitioner Ombudsman

National Health Practitioner Privacy Commissioner


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