Right to Information
Accessing your own Personal and Health Information
Your personal information held by Far West Local Health District (FWLHD) is protected by the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act. The Health Records Information and Privacy Act protects a specific type of personal information – referred to as personal health information – including information about your physical or mental health, disability, provision of health services or genetic information. Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act (GIPA) ‘Personal information’ is information or opinion about a person who can be identified from that information or opinion.
- Note that FWLHD relies on access provisions in privacy law for patient access to personal health information, rather than using the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act). That is, you (or your authorised representative) do not need to make an application under the GIPA Act for access to your personal information, including your health records.
You are entitled to request access (subject to some limited exceptions) to all personal information including your own health records. You may apply for access to your personal information under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act, under Information Protection Principle 7.
For further information refer to the Health Information Privacy Leaflet for Patients.
What sort of information can I ask for?
You can ask for any kind of personal information pertaining to you, which is contained in your medical record and created by the health service agency you are making the request from. This information may include outpatient and inpatient notes, pathology results and medical imaging reports, the health service agency correspondence, medication sheets and discharge summaries.
You are also entitled to view your health record, and this can be organised by contacting the relevant facility. A health care provider or health information manager must be present for this viewing.
Access to your personal health information may be declined in special circumstances, such as where giving you access would put you or another person at risk of harm. Or, if parts of your record contains information which, by law, cannot be given to you, such as information about another person.
How do I request information?
Complete a Release of Information Form, which is available from the Clinical Information Department at your hospital. You will be asked to supply your full name and any aliases, your address and date of birth, and details of the information you are requiring with dates if possible.
Do I need to verify my identity?
As a general guide medical history is considered to be particularly confidential in nature and thus great care is taken by a health service agency to ensure appropriate identification procedures are followed.
You will need to provide at least 2 forms of identification including photograph identification where possible. Acceptable identification includes: passport, driver's licence, Medicare card, birth certificate and health care card if you are seeking a discount.
How do I verify my identity if my application is sent by mail?
Please photocopy the 2 forms of identification you are relying on and have these witnessed by a Justice of the Peace as true copies of the originals.
How do I access my child's medical record?
If you are a parent requesting information about your child you will need to show that you are in fact the child's parent and an original birth certificate will need to be sighted or an authenticated copy of the birth certificate sent by mail.
If you are a separated parent you will need to show the child's birth certificate and also evidence that you are the child's parent. Each parent has authority to request information from your child's medical record, unless the Family Court has specifically removed that right from you.
If the child is over 14 years of age it is necessary to have authority from the child as well as yourself.
If the child is over the age of 16 years it is appropriate for the child to make the request for release of information from their record.
How much will it cost me to make a request for release of my personal health information?
There is a standard fee of $32 (which includes GST) for a maximum of 80 pages* and this is payable with your request application. You may pay in person at the cashier's office (where credit card and Eftpos facilities are available) or by money order, cheque or credit card details in a posted application.
The standard fee may be discounted to $16.50 (which includes GST) for a maximum of 80 pages* for people on low incomes, for some non-profit organisations, and/or where a public interest is demonstrated. A Health Care Card must be sighted.
* Pages in excess of 80 incur a cost of 27 cents per page (which includes GST). There is no discount on this service.
How will I receive the information I have requested?
The health service will photocopy the requested material and send it to you by mail, or you may collect the information in person from the Clinical Information Department of your hospital.
Who do I refer to if I have any more questions regarding completing the request form for Release of Information?
If you have any further queries regarding completing the request form, please contact the LHD Health Information Manager at your hospital.
What do I do if I am not satisfied with the response to my request for information?
If you have any complaints regarding the service provided to you please contact the LHD Information Manager at 176 Thomas Street, Broken Hill, NSW 2880 or phone (08) 8080 1319. If further action is required, the process for an official complaint or review of the information request will be explained to you. Alternatively you may apply for access under the GIPA Act and you may be required to complete a formal access application.
Accuracy of Your Personal or Health Information
You are entitled to have your personal information, including your health record, amended to correct inaccuracies. If you think your personal or health information held by FWLHD is incorrect, you can ask the LHD to correct it under:
- Information Protection Principle 8 in the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act.
- Part 6A of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act.
- Health Privacy Principle 8 under the Health Records Information and Privacy Act. If you believe the health information we hold about you is incorrect, please let your health care provider or the relevant facility Health Information and Record Service know. Appropriate action will be taken and you will be informed of the outcome. This action may include correction of the error or addition of a notation to your health record.
To assist us in maintaining accurate health records it would be appreciated if you advise your health care provider, relevant administrative staff or the relevant facility Health Information and Record Service if, for example, you change your name, address, contact details, or general practitioner details.