Department of Health

Senior officers in health

  • The Chief Health Officer undertakes a variety of statutory functions under health and food-related legislation. He also provides expert clinical and scientific advice and leadership on issues impacting public health. 


    The Chief Health Officer:

    • provides expert advice on matters relating to the health and wellbeing of the people of Victoria to:
      • the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
      • senior leaders in the Department of Health
      • Emergency Management Victoria
      • the broader Victorian health sector
    • issues health alerts and advisories to inform Victorians about health issues that may affect their health and safety
    • performs the functions or powers specified in the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 or any regulations made under that Act
    • is the spokesperson for the Victorian Government on matters related to health protection, including public health incidents and emergencies 
    • engages with the community on public health matters
    • publishes a comprehensive report on public health and wellbeing in Victoria every two years.

    Find out more about our Chief Health Officers

  • Victoria's Chief Medical Officer is Associate Professor Andrew Wilson.

    Associate Professor Wilson ensures that Safer Care Victoria and Victorian hospitals have the right systems, governance, and processes in place to support our health clinicians to deliver high-quality, safe care.

    Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer

    Adjunct Associate Professor Ann Maree Keenan is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Safer Care Victoria and the Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer.

    She provides collaborative and strategic leadership to the nursing and midwifery workforce.

  • Role of the Chief Psychiatrist

    The Chief Psychiatrist:

    • provides clinical leadership and promotes continuous improvement in the quality and safety of mental health services
    • promotes the rights of people receiving mental health treatment in public mental health services
    • provides clinical leadership through developing guidelines and undertaking clinical reviews, audits, and investigations
    • is responsible for monitoring restrictive practices, electroconvulsive therapy, and reportable deaths.

    The role of the Chief Psychiatrist under the Mental Health Act 2014 is to:

    • provide clinical leadership and expert clinical advice to public mental health services
    • promote continuous improvement in the quality and safety of mental health services
    • promote the rights of persons receiving mental health treatment from public mental health services
    • provide advice to the Minister and the Secretary about the provision of mental health services.


    The functions of the Chief Psychiatrist are to:

    • develop and assist mental health service providers to comply with standards, guidelines, and practice directions
    • develop and provide information, training, and education to promote improved quality and safety
    • monitor the provision of mental health services to improve quality and safety
    • assist mental health service providers to comply with the Mental Health Act, its regulations, and codes of practice
    • conduct clinical practice audits and clinical reviews
    • analyse data, undertake research, and publish information about mental health services and treatment
    • publish an annual report
    • give direction to mental health service providers about providing mental health services
    • promote cooperation and coordination between mental health services and providers of other health, disability, and community support services.

    The Chief Psychiatrist leads the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, which is part of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Division. As the Division’s quality and safety ‘arm’, the Office supports the Chief Psychiatrist to fulfil their statutory responsibilities and assist clinical mental health services to provide high standards of care and treatment across Victoria.

    The Chief Psychiatrist is assisted by the Deputy Chief Psychiatrist, Child and Youth Mental Health and by the Deputy Chief Psychiatrist, Aged Persons Mental Health. 

    Find out more about the Chief Psychiatrist.

    Dr Neil Coventry

    Dr Coventry is Victoria's Chief Psychiatrist and is a consultant psychiatrist with qualifications in child and adolescent psychiatry. He was Clinical Director of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services at Austin Health for over 20 years, and more recently was the Deputy Chief Psychiatrist for Children and Youth. 

    Dr Coventry has special interests in trauma, family therapy, eating disorders and suicide prevention and has worked closely with consumer and carer groups to improve safety and quality of our public mental health services.

    He was involved in the implementation of the Mental Health Act 2014.

    Dr Coventry is working closely with partners in the Victorian government and mental health and wellbeing sector to implement the new quality and safety architecture recommended by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

    Chief psychiatrist guidelines

    Publications from the Chief Psychiatrist

  • Victoria’s Chief Mental Health Nurse is Anna Love and is part of the Office of the Chiefs, at Safer Care Victoria.

    Anna provides leadership and promotes collaboration between the government and the mental health nursing profession.

    She represents the profession at all levels of government and across all health service sectors and promotes recognition of the mental health nursing profession.

    In line with the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, Anna’s vision is to ensure we have a skilled mental health nursing workforce for the future, which is nurtured and valued.

    A workforce that is capable, flexible, and responsive will work collaboratively with consumers and carers encouraging self-determination and self-management of mental health and wellbeing. 

    Anna promotes recognition of the mental health nursing profession, provides education and training, and promotes best practice standards, workforce planning, development and professional leadership. She advocates for positive and recovery-focused outcomes for consumers who access Victorian mental health services. 


    The functions of the Chief Mental Health Nurse are to:

    • provide mental health nursing leadership and advice to government and the public and private health and education sectors
    • undertake initiatives to support and enhance mental health nursing practice
    • represent mental health nursing on a range of advisory and reference groups both within and external to the government  at state and national levels
    • support the delivery of clinical quality and safety within our funded services.
    • Support the implementation of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System Report, including the establishment of the Mental Health Improvement Program as part of Safer Care Victoria.
  • The Chief Paramedic Officer is Mr Alan Eade. He provides strategic clinical leadership and oversees the development of collaborative initiatives to support the delivery of safe, effective, high-quality, and integrated paramedic care.

  • Responsibilities of the Chief Advisor on Cancer

    The Chief Advisor on Cancer is Professor Robert Thomas. As Chief Advisor on Cancer, he provides a source of advice on cancer matters within the department and works with groups with an interest in Cancer.

    About the Chief Advisor on Cancer

    Professor Robert Thomas is a clinician who has worked as a surgeon in the field of cancer for several decades.

    Professor Thomas was instrumental in the development of the discipline of surgical oncology in Australasia and responsible for creating the Surgical Oncology Group within the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, having served as editor-in-chief of the ANZ Journal of Surgery and chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council panels

    He is currently chair of the international WISH (World Innovation Summit on Health) forum entitled ‘Delivering Affordable Cancer Care’ and Co -Chair of the National Cancer Expert Reference Group a COAG funded committee pursuing a national workplan for cancer.

    He has ongoing research interests in the molecular pathology of gastrointestinal tumours.

    In addition, Professor Thomas is actively involved in developing cancer reforms within Australia, serving as president of the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia (COSA), Chair of the national committee creating the Colorectal cancer guidelines and a member of the Ministerial Taskforce on Cancer.

    Professor Thomas has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and book chapters. He has been honoured by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons with the Excellence in Surgery Award.

  • Responsibilities

    The Chief Digital Health Officer (CDHO) is Neville Board.

    In his role as CDHO, Neville works closely with Victoria's public healthcare services to implement and assure a range of clinical information system projects.

    These include the unique identification of Victorian patients to underpin secure sharing of clinical information among hospitals.

    The CDHO also coordinates programs to assure technology operations and cyber security in the healthcare sector and convenes several state-wide working and advisory groups to support continual improvement in digital health capability.

    Neville has also been involved in the introduction of the Health Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill 2021 designed to make the sharing of information between health services easier and improve patient outcomes and experience.

    About Neville Board

    Prior to being appointed to the CDHO role in 2018, Neville headed the eHealth and Medication Safety program at the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

    Neville is a registered nurse and has worked in clinical, management, and informatics roles, including leprosy and primary care programs in the Brazilian Amazon.

    He implemented radiotherapy information systems and clinical cancer registries in NSW, and has published on hospital in the home, day-only and short stay surgery, and cardiac and post-acute care.

    Neville is an Adjunct Fellow at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University.

    More information

    For more inforamtion, see Digital health.

Reviewed 24 November 2021


Was this page helpful?