Current as of November 2022
Why and when your consent is necessary
When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for the GP and our 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; and
• health fund details.
Dealing with us anonymously
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.
Should you wish to deal with the practice anonymously, you will be unable to make any claim to Medicare for a rebate and will therefore be out of pocket for the full consultation fee. No prescriptions or referrals will be able to be issued.
How do we collect your personal information?
Our practice may collect your personal information in several different ways.
1. When you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
2. During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information. If you are registered for My Health Record this will include through Shared Health Summaries.
3. We may also collect your personal information when you visit our website, send us an email or SMS, telephone us, make an online appointment or communicate with us using social media.
4. 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 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 eTP, 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.
Paper records are stored in a secure facility and we are currently working towards scanning these documents to electronic format. Once scanned the paper file will be securely destroyed from an accredited document destruction facility.
All other records are stored electronically in your computer file.
Our practice stores all personal information securely.
Every computer is password protected with complex passwords and screens are set to automatically lock after 15minutes of not being used.
All staff and contractors are required to sign confidentiality agreements at the commencement of engagement to protect patient and practice information.
Our practice policy and procedures for document handling and destruction have been created to protect patient and practice information.
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 delivery to our practice either in person or via mail, and our practice will respond within a reasonable time. Generally, 30 days is required for the retrieval and processing of records. An administration fee associated with the retrieval and processing is charged and is generally $35 for majority of records. This includes the cost of administration time for scanning of any paper file, the media to store the file on, conversion of the file to three (3) different formats to ensure access by the requesting party and registered post fees.
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 the practice manager, Jenny Shipard, email@example.com, or PO Box 580 Lavington NSW 2641.
Management of your personal health information
Our practice is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of your health record. As your medical record is a confidential document, it is the policy of this practice to always maintain security of your personal health information. To ensure that the information is only available to authorized members, or you require a member of your family (parent or other family member) to obtain medical information on your behalf, a signed Third-Party Authority allowing release of this information is required.
How can you lodge feedback/privacy related complaints and how will the feedback/complaint be handled at our practice?
We take feedback/complaints and concerns regarding privacy very 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.
Please lodge your complaint to the practice manager, Jenny Shipard, firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to Jenny Shipard, PO Box 580 Lavington NSW 2641. Please allow 30 days for the complaint handling process to occur.
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.
NSW Health Care Complaints Commission, Locked Bag 18, Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012,
Telephone: 02 9219 7444 or
Free Call 1800 043 159
Policy review statement
Recalls and Reminders
Our practice uses a “Recall and Reminder” system to provide preventive care for our patients.
This will assist in ensuring that important health checks are not forgotten and are performed on time. You will be reminded when it is time to visit your doctor for a check-up or as a follow-up to health risks that have previously been found. The reminder system will include checks to help in the prevention or early detection of certain conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and forms of cancer – particularly cervical and prostate cancer.
We will use information from your health record to tell us the check-ups for which you are due and when you should visit your doctor to discuss the tests that are needed.
All doctors follow the guidelines for preventive care as outlined in the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ Guidelines for Preventive Activities in General Practice. The guidelines are in line with the recommendations of organisations such as the National Health and Medical Research Council, the National Heart Foundation and others.
The new privacy laws require that we obtain your consent to send you these reminders. Your doctor will discuss with you the checks that may be necessary and will make a note on your record if you consent to be included in the recall and reminder system.
By allowing us to send you these reminders, you will help us to detect serious conditions early and to monitor known conditions. This can significantly improve the long-term outcome for you.
When you have had your test, you are required to contact our rooms to obtain the results. Where tests are normal, the staff will advise you that no action is required.
If your test is marked for Recall, you will be required to make an appointment to obtain any further information about your test. This is due to your doctor indicating that they need to discuss this result with you further or provide further follow up relating to the test result. You will be required to return within 10 working days, unless the doctor indicates otherwise.
Even when you agree to be included in the Recall and Reminder system, you should remember when you should be tested for certain conditions and should always contact your doctor to get the results of a test that has been performed. We may not always be able to reach you, especially if you have moved and the contact information on your record has not been updated. Please do not ignore calls from our clinic or messages, as these only occur if necessary.
Please discuss with your doctor any concerns you have or if you wish your doctor to make clear anything to do with the Recall and Reminder system.