Collection of information
Sexual Health Victoria collects and holds personal health information about you.
The main reason Sexual Health Victoria collects information from you is so that we may properly investigate, assess, diagnose or treat your illnesses properly and be proactive in your sexual and reproductive health care needs. The information we may ask you is very personal. But not having it may restrict our capacity to provide you with the standard of medical care that you expect.
All members of the professional team involved in your care will have access to your personal information.
This means we may use and disclose the information you provide in the following ways:
- Disclosure to others involved in your health care, including doctors and specialists outside Sexual Health Victoria who may become involved in treating you, pathology services, radiology services and in emergency situations. This may occur through referral to other doctors or specialists, or for medical tests and in the reports or results returned to us following the referrals
- By law, doctors are sometimes required to disclose information for public interest reasons e.g. mandatory reporting of communicable diseases
- Disclosure to enable recording on medical registers to improve community health care (for example the pap smear register)
- Administrative purposes in running our clinical practice, including our insurer or medical indemnity provider, and quality assurance and accreditation bodies
- Billing purposes, including providing information to Medicare and other organisations responsible for the financial aspects of your care
- De-identified information may be shared with local health organisations so they can better plan for community health needs.
- Conducting medical research. You will be informed when such activities are being conducted and your involvement will only take place if you provide express signed consent for each program
- Assisting with training and education of other health professionals. You will be informed when such activities are being conducted and your involvement will only take place if you provide express consent to your medical practitioner for each program
- In the event of potential exposure to COVID-19 while on site at either of our clinics, your information will be provided to the Department of Health and Human Services for the purposes of contact tracing. If this occurs DHHS will contact you directly with instructions.
In most cases we will obtain the information directly from you or your treating doctors
Our reception team are trained to answer the vast majority of your general questions. If your question is of a clinical nature your call will be transferred to one of our nurses. If you are experiencing any symptoms, or believe that your call is of an urgent nature, please advise our receptionist so that we can prioritise your call. We endeavour to return all non-urgent calls within 1 business day. Please note that Sexual Health Victoria does not answer any medical or health care questions that we receive via email.
Our goal is to ensure that your information is accurate, complete and up-to-date. To assist us with this, please contact us if any of the details you have provided change. Further, if you believe that the information we have about you is not accurate, complete or up-to-date, contact us and we will use all reasonable efforts to correct the information.
The storage, use and, where necessary, the transfer of personal health information will be undertaken in a secure manner that protects client privacy. We will take all reasonable steps to protect the security of the personal information that we hold. This includes appropriate measures to protect electronic materials stored and generated in hard copy. It is necessary for medical practices to keep patient information after a patient’s last attendance for as long as required by law or is prudent having regard to administrative requirements
Access to your personal information
Legal reasons why we collect the personal information
Some information we collect is in order to comply with our legal obligations eg Mandatory Reporting or Accreditation requirements.
What happens if you choose not to provide the information?
You are not obliged to provide us your personal information. However, if you choose not to provide Sexual Health Victoria with your personal details such as name, address, date of birth etc we may not be able to provide you with the full range of our services.
Treatment of children
The rights of children to the privacy of their health information, based on the professional judgement of the doctor and consistent with law, might restrict access to the child’s information by parents or guardians.
If you have any complaints about our privacy practices or wish to make a complaint about how your personal information is managed please contact the Privacy Officer. All complaints will be dealt with fairly and as quickly as possible.
A privacy complaint relates to any concern or dispute that you have with our privacy practices as it relates to your personal information. This could include matters such as how personal information is collected, stored, used, disclosed or how access is provided.
We prefer that your complaint is in writing. You may write to the Privacy Officer at GPO Box 1377 Box Hill VIC 3128.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of our handling of your complaint you may contact the Victorian Health Services Commissioner on Freecall 1800 136 066 or visit the website health.vic.gov.au or the Federal Privacy Commissioner.
Access to health records policy
At all times the conduct under this Policy will be governed by the following principles:
- All requests for access will be treated seriously;
- All requests will be dealt with promptly;
- All requests will be dealt with in a confidential manner.
Form of access
Sexual Health Victoria will provide access by allowing you to inspect, take notes of or receive copies or printouts of the personal information that Sexual Health Victoria holds about you.
You can make your request in writing by filling out the form supplied by us which can be obtained by contacting the Privacy Officer.
To obtain access you will have to provide proof of your identity. This is necessary to ensure that personal information is provided only to the correct individuals and that the privacy of others is not undermined.
When will access be denied?
Access will be denied if:
- The request does not relate to the personal information of the person making the request;
- Providing access would pose a serious and imminent threat to life or health of a person;
- Providing access would create an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others;
- The request relates to legal proceedings between Sexual Health Victoria and you;
- Providing access would prejudice negotiations with the individual making the request; Access would be unlawful; Denial of access is authorised or required by law; Access would prejudice law enforcement activities;
- Access discloses a ‘commercially sensitive’ decision making process or information; or
- Any other reason that is provided for in the Health Privacy Principles (HPPs) set out in the Victorian Health Records Act and the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) set out under the Commonwealth Privacy Act.
Where possible, Sexual Health Victoria will favour providing access. It may do so by providing access to the appropriate parts of, and not the entire record.
We will take all reasonable steps to provide access within 45 days of your request.
Costs and charges
There is no fee to lodge a request for access.
Sexual Health Victoria will, where possible, charge a reasonable fee to cover administrative costs such as photocopying. There are limits to the fees we can charge and these are prescribed in the Health Records Act 2002 (Vic).
A fee will be charged for the doctor’s time spent perusing the notes or explaining them directly to the patient, or rewriting incomprehensible records, in accordance with fees suggested within the Victorian Health Records Act and the Health Records Regulations or Freedom of Information legislation.
These charges cannot be claimed on Medicare of Health Funds.
Contacting the Privacy Officer
Sexual Health Victoria
GPO Box 1377
Box Hill VIC 3128.
03 9257 0100