Under the Privacy Act, we must collect personal information in a lawful and fair way and that includes asking for consent, where practicable to do so. You can withdraw your consent to us collecting your personal information at any time, however this might make it more difficult for us to provide our services to you. In a situation where there is a serious threat to your life, health, or safety, we may collect personal information, such as your name and contact information, and sensitive information such as health information, without your consent so that we can provide emergency health services to you.
If practical, we will collect the personal information directly from you but there are situations where this might not be possible, for example:
- if you are unconscious or unable to communicate, we will provide emergency health services to you.
- if you cannot understand us, we may ask an interpreter to help us communicate with you.
- if you are a minor, we may ask a parent or guardian.
- if you have a physical or mental impairment, we may ask a carer or guardian.
- if you are temporarily incapacitated, we may ask a responsible person to assist us.
We will need to provide your personal information, including any sensitive and health information we have collected, when we hand over your care from our service to another health service provider to assist with your ongoing treatment. We may be unable to obtain your consent at the time to do this.
There are permitted general situations under the Privacy Act where we may collect or disclose personal, including sensitive and health information, without your consent, such as where there is a serious threat to your life, health, or safety; to locate a missing person; if unlawful activity or misconduct of a serious nature is suspected; during a confidential alternative dispute resolution process; or defending a legal or equitable claim.
There are also rules under the Privacy Act which allow health information to be collected if it is required or authorised by or under another Australian law or is collected in accordance with rules established by competent health or medical bodies that deal with obligations of professional confidentiality which bind us. An example of this is when we collect information to include in your My Health Record under the My Health Records Act 2012 (Cth) if you as an individual have opted into My Health Records and provided access rights for us to do so.
If you are concerned about what information has been collected and disclosed, without your consent, please contact us.
For more information about your rights under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) in relation to health services, please see the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website – www.oaic.gov.au.