Scone Medical Practice is committed to providing quality health care for its patients. As a fundamental part of this commitment principals and staff of the practice recognise the importance of ensuring that our patients are fully informed and involved in their health care.
The Scone Medical Practice is, as a NSW health provider in the private sector, bound by the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) this includes both the Australian Privacy Principles and the NSW Health Privacy Principles. These principles set the standards by which we handle personal information collected from our patients. A copy of both sets of Principles is available for inspection at the reception desk.
As a part of our commitment to providing quality health care it is necessary for us to maintain files pertaining to your health. The files contain the following types of information:
• Personal details (your name, address, date of birth, Medicare number);
• Your medical history;
• Notes made during the course of medical consultations;
• Referrals to other health service providers;
• Results and reports received from other health service providers.
The information held about you is provided by you or arises as a consequence of information provided by you.
Your medical file is handled with the utmost respect for your privacy. The file will be accessed by your medical practitioner, and when necessary, for example in the absence of your usual medical practitioner, by other medical practitioners in the practice. It may also be necessary for our staff to handle your file from time to time to address the administrative requirements of running a medical practice. Our staff members are bound by strict confidentiality requirements as a condition of employment and these requirements will be observed if it is necessary for them to view your records.
At times, to ensure the function of our practice, it may also be necessary to allow external organisations to access our practice and possibly, to view the medical records. Any external organisation that provides service or advice to this practice will be aware of the need to preserve the requirement of state and federal privacy legislation and will be bound by a confidentiality agreement.
The practice does not intend to disclose your personal information to overseas recipients.
Ordinarily we will not release the contents of your medical file without your consent. However, we advise that there may be occasions where we will be required to release the details of your file irrespective of whether your consent to the disclosure of the information is given.
We advise that as a patient of this practice you have rights of access to any information we hold concerning you. Should you wish to access this information we refer you to our handout entitled “ACCESSING YOUR MEDICAL RECORD”.
As part of our commitment to preserving the confidentiality of the information contained in your medical record we advise that strict secure storage policies are observed in this practice. All reasonable steps are taken to prevent any unlawful interference with your electronic records, which are accessible only by staff of this practice and are protected by a security password. Your paper records are kept in secure filing cabinets and accessible only by practice staff. Each member of staff is well versed in the principles and importance of doctor–patient confidentiality.
Should you, at any time, have a query or complaint in relation to the privacy policies in place at this practice please contact The Practice Manager who will be happy to address any concerns you may have. We advise that it is the practice’s policy that any complaint is required to be made in writing and addressed to The Practice Manager and marked private and confidential. We advise that we will make our best endeavour to address complaints within 30 days of receipt of your complaint.
Should you be unsatisfied with our response to your privacy complaint, you may lodge a written complaint with the NSW Privacy Commissioner or the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
ACCESSING YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS
As per NSW and Australian government legislation, patients have rights of access to health information held about them by this practice.
Accessing your health information may be as simple as requesting a copy of your latest pathology results from your medical practitioner during the course of a standard medical consultation.
However, more often than not accessing your health information will involve far more work for our staff. We advise that the following procedure has been developed to ensure that all requests for access are dealt with as fairly and efficiently as possible:
1. All requests for access are required to be made in writing, and addressed to the attention of your doctor or The Practice Manager.
2. Requests for access will be acknowledged in writing within 14 days of the receipt of the request.
3. Applicants will be required to complete the standard consent form, and undertake to be bound by the terms of the document.
4. The total time between the receipt of a request for access and the time when access is granted shall not, ordinarily, exceed 30 days. Where it is not possible for access to be granted within 30 days, you will be notified, in writing, of this and advised when access will be granted.
5. Where access is refused to your medical file you will be advised in writing of the reasons for refusal, and your medical practitioner will contact you to discuss whether there are any means by which access may be facilitated.
6. You will not be permitted to remove any of the contents of your medical file from the medical practice. Should you wish to alter or erase information in the medical record, a separate written request must be submitted
7. Where practicable, a medical practitioner will be present when access is granted to your file so that he or she may go through the contents of your file, and address any concerns that you may have in relation to the information contained within the file. A fee of $73 will be charged in relation to this attendance. We advise that a rebate will not be recoverable from Medicare for this service.
8. Should you request copies of any, or all, of the contents of your medical file, there will be an applicable fee based on the number of pages copied.
9. Generally patients will be required to collect their records in person. However, in some limited circumstances patients may request that records are provided to another person. This provision will generally only apply where the patient is unable, due to illness or incapacity, to attend the practice in person.
10. If you are collecting a copy of your medical record, or are authorised to collect the record of another person, you may be required to provide identification. Where possible this should be photographic identification.
Should you have any queries in relation to the above or wish to make an application for access please approach our reception staff and they will assist you.
Scone Medical Practice