Your privacy is taken seriously. Privacy protection and confidentiality of health information is essential for quality health care. There is a strong commitment to protecting your privacy and maintaining confidentiality of your personal information.
In addition to the professional and ethical obligations, at a minimum, your personal information will be handled in accordance with Federal and State Privacy Law. This includes complying with the Federal Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) forming part of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
More information about the APPs can be found on the Australian Information Commissioner’s website oaic.gov.au.
Your personal information will be collected and held so that you may be properly assessed, diagnosed, treated and be proactive in meeting your health care needs.
The type of personal information collected may include:
- personal details (name, address, date of birth, Medicare number)
- your medical history
- notes made during the course of a consultation
- referral to other health services providers (with your consent)
- results and reports received from other health service providers; and,
- credit card or direct debit information for billing purposes
- next of kin or emergency contact details. Next of kin may include immediate family, friends or carers.
Disclose your personal information for purposes directly related to providing you with quality health care, or in ways you would reasonably expect it be used in order to provide you with this service. In an emergency we may need to contact and share critical information with your nominated next of kin.
Any personal information about you is strictly confidential. However, there can be exceptions, for instance when:
- You or someone else may be at serious and immediate risk of harm.
- Failure to disclose the information would place you or another person at serious and imminent risk of harm (including when required by mandatory reporting laws)
- You have given permission to; discuss your information with another person. eg. other professional, or provide a written report to another professional or agency.
- It is subpoenaed by court.
Access to your information
You may access the material recorded in your file upon request, subject to the exceptions in National Privacy Principle 6.
Storage of personal information
All reasonable steps will be taken to protect the security of your personal information held, by securing premises and taking reasonable steps to secure electronic systems and databases to protect electronic information from unauthorised interference, access, modification or disclosure.
Access to your personal information
You have a right to access personal information please contact Jane Hutchinson directly to discuss the matter.
Child and adolescent clients
Confidentiality also applies to children and adolescents as clients.
Consent and involvement of both parents or guardians is desirable. However, there are situations where this is not possible, or appropriate.
The practitioner has a responsibility to both the young person and to the client-parent who contracts or engages the mental health service for the young person. This will be discussed and clarified with the young person and the client-parent issues of consent, confidentiality and disclosure at the outset of treatment. The process by which parents can provide feedback and how the practitioner will provide information on progress, within the previously determined limits around confidentiality and planned level of involvement of parent(s).
The client-parent should indicate the person or persons who can access information about the young person and advise if there is a change. The client-parent should also advise if there are any Court Orders in relation to the young person.
If there is an immediate and specified risk of harm to an identifiable person or persons or where there is a legal obligation to do so, disclosure of any information, all reasonable steps will be taken to discuss this with the client-parent.
In the absence of consent by the client-parent and the young person for disclosure of information to the other parent and in the event that the other parent seeks information about the mental health service provided to the young person, practitioners have a duty to protect the confidentiality of the young person, which includes refraining from acknowledging whether or not a mental health service has been provided. In such situations, if the other parent contacts the practitioner and seeks information or involvement, the practitioner will encourage the client-parent to discuss and resolve the issues directly with the other parent. If the young person is capable of giving informed consent, also informs the young person and discusses the implications of the other parent’s request.
If you have any questions or concerns about privacy and confidentiality in relation to a child or young person please contact the practitioner directly to discuss.
More information about child safe standards can be found here:
More information about mandatory reporting can be found here: https://www.aasw.asn.au/document/item/235