Privacy Information for Patients

The NSW Public Health Service is committed to safeguarding the privacy of patient information, and has implemented measures to comply with its obligations under the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.

Our Obligations

Our doctors, nurses and other staff are bound by law, by NSW Health privacy policy and by a strict code of conduct to maintain confidentiality of patient information.

Privacy Information for Patients Download our pamphlet regarding privacy information for patients. (PDF 1.05 MB)

This leaflet provides you with details of what personal information is held about you, how you can access this information and the purposes for which your personal information is used and disclosed. Your personal information includes your personal details and personal health information relating to your treatment.

Collection of personal information

We collect your personal information so that we can provide you with treatment and advice. Test results and further information collected while you are being treated are kept with your health record. We only collect information that is relevant and necessary for your treatment and to manage the health service.

We collect information directly from you, wherever possible.

We may need to collect information from other health professionals who have treated you. In an emergency we may also need to collect information from a family member, friend, carer or other person who can help us to provide you with the best care.

Your information may be held in paper and electronic files.  We take all reasonable steps to ensure the information we collect about you is stored securely. We are required by law to retain health records for certain periods of time depending on the type of record and facility. We have appropriate systems and policies in place to protect your information from loss, unauthorised access and misuse.

If you do not wish for us to collect certain information about you, you need to tell us and we will discuss with you any consequences this may have for your health care.

Use and disclosure

All staff are bound by law and ethical practice to keep your information confidential.  Staff will use or disclose your information for purposes directly related to your treatment, and in ways you would reasonably expect for your current and future care.

Your personal health information will be shared with staff involved in your care, in order to determine the best treatment for you and to assist in the management of the health services provided to you.

Relevant information about the health services you have received will be sent to your nominated GP, unless you request otherwise.  Where relevant information will be sent to other treating health services or hospitals involved in your care, or to the Ambulance Service of NSW, to a specialist for a referral, for pathology tests, x-rays and so on.

We may be  required to disclose some patient information to Courts and Tribunals and to State and Commonwealth government agencies to comply with laws regarding the reporting of notifiable diseases and statistics, and for  the registering of births & deaths. Your personal information may be required as evidence in court when subpoenaed.

We may use or disclose patient information for billing and other purposes required for the operation of the NSW Health Service, including safety and quality improvement initiatives. Where relevant, we may need to disclose patient information to Medicare, private health funds, the Department of Veteran Affairs or The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.

We may use your information to contact you regarding patient satisfaction surveys that help us to evaluate and improve our services.

We may use or disclose your information for the following purposes in accordance with Statutory Guidelines issued under privacy law:

  • for public interest research projects complying with strict protocols and approved by a Human Research & Ethics Committee
  • for staff and student training purposes,
  • for other planning, financial or management purposes for health service activities

The Statutory Guidelines ensure that where your information is needed for these purposes and it is impracticable to seek your consent, a minimum amount of personal information is used, and the personal information is handled in accordance with strict standards.

We will seek your consent prior to the use or disclosure of patient information for purposes other than those listed above, such as for fundraising activities.

Access to your information

You are entitled to request access to all personal information including your health record held by health service providers in NSW. Normally you will be asked to apply for access in writing and provide identification. You may be charged a fee if you request copies of your personal information or health record.

Access to your personal information may be declined in special circumstances, such as where giving access would put you or another person at risk of harm.

If you believe the information we hold about you is incorrect and an error has been made, please let us know and we will correct the information. If we believe the information is correct, you may request for your view to be noted on the record.

Requests for access to or correction of your health record should be addressed either to the Medical Record Department or the General Manager of the health service facility you attended.

Contact us

If you have questions or a complaint about the privacy of your personal information, please contact your nearest Northern NSW Local health District Hospital or alternatively, you may contact :

The NNSWLHD Privacy Contact Officer
1800 108 078