Privacy of Patient Information
Welcome to the privacy information page for Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD). WSLHD is committed to protecting the privacy of patient/client health information and has implemented measures to comply with its obligations under the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002, the Privacy and Personal Information Act 1998 and the NSW Health Privacy Manual for Health Information.
Our doctors, nurses and other staff are required by law, by the NSW Health Privacy Manual for Health Information and by a strict Code of Conduct to maintain the privacy of patient health information. For more information about how WSLHD collects, stores, uses and discloses your health information, refer to the WSLHD Privacy Information for Patient/Clients leaflet
This leaflet is also available in other languages.
Collection of Health Information
WSLHD collects your health information so that we can provide you with treatment and advice. Test results and other information that is collected while you are being treated is kept with your health record. WSLHD only collects information that is necessary and relevant for your treatment and to manage the health services we provide.
WSLHD will collect information directly from you, wherever possible. Occasionally, it may be necessary to collect information about you from other health professionals who are involved in your care. In an emergency and in some circumstances, it may be necessary for us to collect information from a family member, friend, carer or other person who can help us to provide you with the best care.
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.
Storage and Security of Health Information
The health information WLSHD collects about patients is be held in a health care record that may be both paper and electronic and may include visual images and audio formats. WSLHD takes reasonable steps to make sure that the health information we collect about patients is stored securely. WSLHD is required by law to retain health records for certain periods of time, depending on the type of record and facility. WSLHD has appropriate systems and policies in place to protect patient health information from loss, unauthorised access and misuse.
Use and Disclosure
All staff are required by law and ethical practice to keep patient health information confidential. WSLHD will use or disclose your health information for purposes directly related to your care, and in ways that you would reasonably expect for your current and future health care.
Your health information will be shared with the staff involved in your care, so that they can determine the best treatment for you and to assist us to manage the health services we provide to you.
Relevant information about the health care you have received will be sent to your nominated GP, unless you request otherwise.
Where necessary, and permitted by law, health information may be sent to other treating health care professionals, health services or hospitals involved in your care, to the Ambulance Service of NSW, to a specialist for a referral, for pathology tests, x-rays and so on.
WSLHD may be required to disclose some health 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 and deaths. Your health information may be required as evidence in court and may be subpoenaed for this purpose.
WSLHD may use or disclose health information for billing and other purposes required for the operation of the NSW Health Service, including safety and quality improvement initiatives. Where relevant, it is possible that WSLHD disclose health information to Medicare, private health funds, the Department of Veterans
Affairs or The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.
WSLHD may use your information to contact you regarding patient satisfaction surveys that will help us evaluate and improve our services.
WSLHD may use or disclose your information for the following purposes which are permitted by 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
When WSLHD uses or discloses health information for these purposes it is often impracticable to seek patient consent. On these occasions, a minimum amount of health information is used, and the information is handled in accordance with strict standards.
WSLHD 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 the information WSLHD holds about you, including your health record. For further information refer to the WSLHD Right to Information page.
Key Privacy Resources
Please refer to the following documents for information about how WSLHD complies with privacy law:
Other Privacy Resources that you may find useful:
If you would like further information about the privacy of your health information, please refer to the WSLHD Privacy Information for Patients/Clients leaflet (in English).
The WSLHD leaflet is also available in the following languages on the NSW Health Privacy website: (add a hyperlink)
The Privacy Acts and related Regulations and links are listed below:
European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came in to force on 25 May 2018 and will impact WSLHD which holds or processes personal data of EU citizens who attend WSLHD facilities as patients or participate in research in which WSLHD is involved.
The GDPR has introduced new responsibilities, including the need to demonstrate compliance, more stringent enforcement and substantially increased penalties than the current Data Protection Act (DPA) which it will supersede.
It is noted that, the obligations under the GDPR are similar to those found in NSW privacy laws, in particular the Information Protection Principles (IPPs) of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and the Health Privacy Principles (HPPs) of the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.
WSLHD is committed to a high standard of information security, privacy and transparency. WSLHD has prioritised the protection and management of information in accordance with accepted standards.
WSLHD is compliant with applicable GDPR regulations, including as a data processor, while also working closely with our patients and partners to meet contractual obligations for our procedures, products and services.
If you have a complaint relating to your privacy or if you believe a health service provider has breached your privacy you can make a formal complaint using the attached form.
Your complaint will be investigated as an Internal Review. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may lodge an appeal with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, who will further investigate your complaint.
For further information:
- Contact the Privacy Contact Officer (details below)
- Contact the Office of the NSW Information and Privacy Commission on telephone (02) 1800472679 or go to the Privacy NSW website
Privacy Annual Reports
If you have an information privacy enquiry or complaint regarding a health service you have received, please contact:
The Privacy Contact Officer
Western Sydney Local Health District
PO Box 574
Wentworthville NSW 2145
Phone: (02) 8860 2550
For further information, go to the Right to Information website page.