Patient Information Privacy
The Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) is committed to safeguarding the privacy of patient/client information and has implemented measures to comply with its obligations under the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 and Privacy and Personal information Protection Act 1998. All staff members are bound by the acts and by the NSW Health Privacy Manual for Health Information.
For further information, refer to the SLHD Privacy Leaflet for Patients and Staff . The leaflet is also available in other languages on the NSW Multicultural Health Communication website. This leaflet explains how and why we collect information about you, how you can access your information and how your information may be used within the NSW public health service or disclosed to other parties. There is also a specialised leaflet available for HIV Patients.
All staff members working in the Sydney Local Health District, including but not limited to doctors, nurses, students, contractors and volunteer staff, are bound by law, by the NSW Health Privacy Manual for Health Information and by a strict code of conduct to maintain confidentiality of patient 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, 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 records, including visual image and audio formats. We take all reasonable steps to ensure the information collected 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 any consequences this may have for your health 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. Information could also be sent to other hospitals or treating health services involved in your care, such as to a specialist for a referral, for pathology tests and x-rays and the Ambulance Service of NSW.
Summarised information may also be available to your treating clinical staff via HealtheNet. HealtheNet is a secure state-wide electronic record used by the NSW public health service.
The Health Records and Information Privacy Act defines other circumstances where use and/or disclosure of your personal or health information may be authorised.
We may be required to disclose particular patient information to Commonwealth and State government agencies to comply with laws regarding the reporting of notifiable diseases and statistics, for the registering of births and deaths and to Courts and Tribunals 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, 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.
My Health Record is Australia’s national digital health record system. Unless you have opted out of having one, summarised information will be securely sent to your My Health Record. You and your treating clinical staff are able to securely access this information online.
For further information regarding My Health Record, you can call 1800 723 471 or visit www.myhealthrecord.gov.au
You are entitled to request access to your personal health information including your health record held by the Sydney Local Health District (SLHD). You are also able to give consent to an authorised representative or a third party to access your personal health information on your behalf.
For further information on the process to access your personal health information, refer to the "Accessing your Health Information" page on the SLHD Right to Information Webpage. Applications can be made using the Application to Access Personal Health Information form. Fees may apply.
Access to your personal information may be declined in special circumstances, such as where giving access would cause you or another person risk of harm.
If you wish to apply for access to government information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, refer to the SLHD Right to Information webpage for further information.
For further information relating to Sydney Local Health District's compliance with privacy law, refer to the following resources:
- Mandatory privacy training module for staff
- SLHD Privacy Leaflet for Patients and Staff
- NSW Health Privacy Manual for Health Information
- Privacy Management Annual Reports:
- Sydney Local Health District Privacy Management Annual Report 2013 - 2014
- Sydney Local Health District Privacy Management Annual Report 2014 - 2015
- Sydney Local Health District Privacy Management Annual Report 2015 - 2016
- Sydney Local Health District Privacy Management Annual Report 2016 - 2017
- Sydney Local Health District Privacy Management Annual Report 2017 - 2018
The relevant Privacy Acts and related regulations are listed below:
- Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002
- Health Records and Information Privacy Code of Practice 2005
- Health Records and Information Privacy Regulation 2012
- Privacy and Personal information Protection Act 1998
- Privacy Code of Practice (General) 2003
- Privacy and Personal Information Protection Regulation 2014
If you believe that Sydney Local Health District has contravened a Health Privacy Principle or Health Privacy Code, you may wish to request an internal review of the incident. For further information about internal reviews, refer to the Privacy Internal Review Information Sheet. Applications for an internal review can be made using the Privacy Internal Review Application Form.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may lodge an appeal with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) who will further investigate your complaint.
If you have a general privacy enquiry or complaint about the management of your personal health information by any hospital or health services within the Sydney Local Health District, please contact:
Privacy Contact Officer
Sydney Local Health District
PO Box M30
Missenden Road, NSW, 2050
Phone: (02) 9515 9600
Fax: (02) 9515 9610