- The Health Records Act 2001 (“the HRA”) places an obligation on various bodies including Victorian government agencies (SRO) in respect of “health information” (as defined by the HRA). The objects of the HRA are to:
- Require responsible handling of health information in the public and private sectors,
- Balance the public interest in protecting the privacy of health information with the public interest in the legitimate use of that information,
- Enhance the ability of individuals to be informed about their health care or disability services, and
- Promote the provision of quality health services, disability services and aged care services
Health Information being, among other things, information or opinion about the physical, mental or psychological health, or disability of an individual.
Health records kept by the SRO
- The SRO may, in addition to other information, also receive health information from customers in support of a benefit, concession or reduction of penalties. Such material is treated with utmost confidentiality and subject to the secrecy provisions in the legislation administered by the SRO and the HRA including the health privacy principles (HPPs).
- The SRO does not collect health information, unless you voluntarily supply it to the SRO for the purposes of a benefit or concession in the legislation administered by the SRO.
Information only disclosed as authorised by the HRA
- The SRO does not disclose any health information collected by it unless in accordance with HPP 2 (which enables disclosure authorised by law, or with the consent of the person to whom the health information relates). The SRO treats all such information with the utmost confidentiality and in accordance with the HRA. You may access the HPPs from the following website - www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc
Obtaining health records under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
- All requests for access to health information should be made to the Privacy Officer in the first instance, who will consider the request and where appropriate provide informal access or an individual may be requested to apply formally to the SRO for access under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
Disposal of health records
- The SRO disposes of all health information no longer necessary for the performance of its functions in accordance with the Public Records Act 1973.
- If a customer has a complaint about the way the SRO has handled their health information or indeed how the SRO has dealt with a complaint made by an individual regarding the management of their health information or access to it they may lodge a complaint with the Health Services Commissioner, but only after attempting to resolve the matter locally with the SRO.
- If an individual customer wishes to complain about the use by the SRO of their “health information” they should contact the Privacy Officer of the SRO (Paula Thorne, Policy Advisory and Legal Services 9628 6105). The role of the Privacy Officer is to ensure that the SRO complies with this policy.
- If a customer is not satisfied with the way in which the SRO has handled their complaint through its complaints procedures, they may complain to the Victorian Health Services Commissioner:-
Office of the Health Services Commissioner
570 Bourke Street
1300 582 113
(61 3) 9032 3111