Collection of Personal Information
We collect your personal information so that we can provide you with treatment and advice. Test results and further information collected while you are being treated are kept with your health record. We only collect information that is relevant and necessary for your treatment and to manage the health services we provide.
We collect information directly from you, wherever possible. We may need to collect information from other health professionals who have treated you. In an emergency and in certain circumstances, we may also need to collect information from a family member, friend, carer or other person who can help us to provide you with the best care.
Your information may be held in paper or electronic files, including visual image and audio formats.
We take all reasonable steps to ensure the information we collect about you is stored securely. We are required by law to retain health records for certain periods of time, depending on the type of record and facility. We have appropriate systems and policies in place to protect your information from loss, unauthorised access and misuse.
If you do not wish for us to collect certain information about you, you need to tell us and we will discuss with you any consequences this may have for your health care.
Use and Disclosure
All staff are bound by law and ethical practice to keep your information confidential. Northern NSW Local Health District will use or disclose your information for purposes directly related to your treatment, and in ways you would reasonably expect for your current and future care.
Your personal health information will be shared with staff involved in your care, in order to determine the best treatment for you and to assist in the management of the health services provided to you. Relevant information about the health services you have received will be sent to your nominated GP, unless you request otherwise. Where relevant information will be sent to other treating health services or hospitals involved in your care, or to the Ambulance Service of NSW, to a specialist for a referral, for pathology tests, x-rays and so on.
We may be required to disclose some patient information to Courts and Tribunals and to State and Commonwealth government agencies to comply with laws regarding the reporting of notifiable diseases and statistics, and for the registering of births and deaths. Your personal information may be required as evidence in court when subpoenaed.
We may use or disclose patient information for billing and other purposes required for the operation of the NSW Health Service, including safety and quality improvement initiatives. Where relevant, we may need to disclose patient information to Medicare, private health funds, the Department of Veterans Affairs or The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.
We may use your information to contact you regarding patient satisfaction surveys that help us to evaluate and improve our services.
We may use or disclose your information for the following purposes in accordance with Statutory Guidelines issued under privacy law:
- For public interest research projects complying with strict protocols and approved by a Human Research & Ethics Committee
- For staff and student training purposes
- For other planning, financial or management purposes for health service activities
The Statutory Guidelines ensure that where your information is needed for these purposes and it is impracticable to seek your consent, a minimum account of personal information is used, and the personal information is handled in accordance with strict standards.
We will seek your consent prior to the use or disclosure of patient information for purposes other than those listed above, such as for fundraising activities.
Access to your Information
You are entitled to request access to all personal informationheld by Northern NSW Local Health District, including your health record,. For further information refer to the NNSWLHD Right to Information page.
Key Privacy Resources
For information relating to Northern NSW Local Health District and NSW Health compliance with privacy law, please refer to the following documents:
Other Privacy Resources that may be of use to you:
- Summary of Health Privacy Principles (HPPs)
- Summary of Information Privacy Principles (IPPs)
- NSW Health Privacy Management Plan
- Privacy Internal Review Guidelines NSW Health
If you would like further information relating to the privacy of your personal health information, please refer to the NNSWLHD Privacy Information for Patients/Clients leaflet (in English).
This leaflet is also available in other languages via the NSW Health Privacy website.
The Privacy Acts and related Regulations and links are listed below:
- Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002
- Statutory Guidelines pursuant to the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002
- Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998
- Health Records and Information Privacy Regulation 2006
- Health Records and Information Privacy Code of Practice 2005
- Privacy and Personal Information Protection Regulation 2005
- Privacy Code of Practice (General) 2003
If you have a complaint relating to your privacy on the grounds that you believe a health service provider has contravened an Information Protection Principle or Health Privacy Principle, you may wish to request an internal review to be carried out by NNSWLHD:
- Privacy Internal Review Information Sheet
- Privacy Internal Review Application Form
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may lodge an appeal with the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, who will further investigate your complaint. For further information:
- Contact the Privacy Contact Officer (details below)
- Contact the Office of the NSW Information and Privacy Commission on telephone (02) 1800472679 or go to the Privacy NSW website
If you have an information privacy enquiry or complaint regarding a health service you have received, please contact:
The Privacy Officer
NSW Ministry of Health
Locked Mail Bag 961
North Sydney NSW 2059
Phone: (02) 9391 9606
Fax: (02) 9391 9604