Current as of: 07/06/2022
Why and when your consent is necessary
When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our GPs and practice staff to access and use your personal information so they can provide you with the best possible healthcare. Only staff who need to see your personal information will have access to it. If we need to use your information for anything else, we will seek additional consent from you to do this.
Why do we collect, use, hold and share your personal information?
Our practice will need to collect your personal information to provide healthcare services to you. Our main purpose for collecting, using, holding and sharing your personal information is to manage your health. We also use it for directly related business activities, such as financial claims and payments, practice audits and accreditation, and business processes (eg staff training).
What personal information do we collect?
The information we will collect about you includes your:
- names, date of birth, addresses, contact details
- medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors
- Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes
- healthcare identifiers
- health fund details.
Dealing with us anonymously
The Privacy Act states you have the right to deal with us anonymously or under a pseudonym unless it is impracticable for us to do so or unless we are required or authorised by law to only deal with identified individuals. (APP2)
Examples of where it would be impractical to provide care are:
- a service that requires follow up (patient identification is required to get in touch with them)
- when a multi-disciplinary team is needed to provide care
- when medical history is needed in order to provide safe and appropriate care
- when a patient requires access to a Medicare (MBS) or Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) rebate
- services provided to staff who are also patients of the health service.
How do we collect your personal information?
Our practice may collect your personal information in several different ways.
- When you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
- During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information.
Information can also be collected through electronic transfer of prescriptions (eTP), SafeScript, My Health Record, eg via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary.
- We may also collect your personal information when you telephone us.
- In some circumstances personal information may also be collected from other sources. Often this is because it is not practical or reasonable to collect it from you directly. This may include information from:
- your guardian or responsible person
- other involved healthcare providers, such as specialists, allied health professionals, hospitals, community health services and pathology and diagnostic imaging services
- your health fund, Medicare, or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (as necessary).
When, why and with whom do we share your personal information?
We sometimes share your personal information:
- with third parties who work with our practice for business purposes, such as accreditation agencies or information technology providers – these third parties are required to comply with APPs and this policy
- with other healthcare providers
- when referring a patient to another healthcare provider, only relevant and sufficient medical information pertaining to the reason for referral is provided to facilitate optimal patient care
- when it is required or authorised by law (eg court subpoenas)
- when it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a patient’s life, health or safety or public health or safety, or it is impractical to obtain the patient’s consent
- to assist in locating a missing person
- to establish, exercise or defend an equitable claim
- for the purpose of confidential dispute resolution process
- when there is a statutory requirement to share certain personal information (eg some diseases require mandatory notification)
- during the course of providing medical services, through electronic transfer of prescriptions (eTP), through SafeScript, My Health Record (eg via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary).
Only people who need to access your information will be able to do so. Other than in the course of providing medical services or as otherwise described in this policy, our practice will not share personal information with any third party without your consent.
We will not share your personal information with anyone outside Australia (unless under exceptional circumstances that are permitted by law) without your consent.
Our practice will not use your personal information for marketing any of our goods or services directly to you without your express consent. If you do consent, you may opt out of direct marketing at any time by notifying our practice in writing.
How do we store and protect your personal information?
Your personal information may be stored at our practice in various forms.
The most common way of storing information is electronically. Hard copies of reports, records, etc received by us is scanned into electronic form into the patients file.
Our practice stores all personal information securely, it is accessible only by authorized staff covered by a confidentiality agreement.
They are either stored in Electronic format or Hardcopy
All electronic information is password protected, and backed up daily
Archived hard copy records are stored securely in secure cabinets.
How can you access and correct your personal information at our practice?
You have the right to request access to, and correction of, your personal information.
Our practice acknowledges patients may request access to their medical records. We require you to put this request in writing, and either post, email or deliver to: Admin Goonawarra Medical Centre, 1-5 Dornoch Drive, Sunbury Vic 3429 – email: firstname.lastname@example.org The request must contain patients full name, address, date of birth, medicare number and phone number.
An acknowledgement will be provided to the patient within 14 days confirming the request and detailing whether the request can be complied with, and an indication of any costs associated with providing the information. If only a few results requested, a patient may be asked to clarify the scope of the request. Some material may be restricted to further publication or copying without the author’s permission. Time spent preparing and producing records incur a cost that can be passed on to the requesting patient.
Our practice will take reasonable steps to correct your personal information where the information is not accurate or up to date. From time to time, we will ask you to verify that your personal information held by our practice is correct and current. You may also request that we correct or update your information, and you should make such requests in writing to: Practice Manager, Goonawarra Medical Centre, 1-5 Dornoch Drive, Sunbury Vic 3429 or email: email@example.com
How can you lodge a privacy-related complaint, and how will the complaint be handled at our practice?
We take complaints and concerns regarding privacy seriously. You should express any privacy concerns you may have in writing. We will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure.
Address your complaint to:
Practice Manager, Goonawarra Medical Centre, 1-5 Dornoch Drive, Sunbury Vic 3429 Ph: 03 9744 9999
Or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include all aspects of your complaint including: Your name, Address, Phone Number and Date of birth, Full details of incident, Date incident occurred, Names of persons involved and anything further you deem relevant or helpful. Your complaint will be investigated and we endeavor to get back to you with an outcome within 30 days.
You may also contact the OAIC. Generally, the OAIC will require you to give them time to respond before they will investigate. For further information visit www.oaic.gov.au or call the OAIC on 1300 363 992. Or
Health Complaints Commissioner 26th Floor 570 Bourke St Melbourne Vic 3000 Ph: 1300 582 113
Privacy and our website
We do not collect personal information via our practice website, email or social media
Policy review statement
This policy will be reviewed annually, or more regularly if required, to ensure it is in accordance with any changes that may occur. For your viewing, a copy of this policy is posted on the notice board at reception at all times.