Your privacy and the law
What personal information do we collect?
The ‘personal information’ we collect about you includes the following:
- Your name, date of birth, address/es, and contact details
- Medicare number, healthcare identifiers and health fund details
- Medical information that may include medical history, medications, allergies, family history, social history, risk factors, immunisations, and adverse events.
Doctors need information about your past and present health in order to provide you with high-quality care. NHD follows the guidelines of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) 5th edition Standards for after-hours and medical deputising services, federal and state privacy legislation, and the Australian Privacy Principles, which requires that your personal information is kept private and secure.
Why do we collect, use, hold and share your personal information?
NHD will need to collect your personal information to provide healthcare services to you. Our main purpose for collecting, using, holding, and sharing your personal information is to manage your health. We also use it for directly related business activities, such as financial claims and payments, practice audits and accreditation, and business processes (e.g. staff training).
Why and when your consent is necessary
When you register, or on your initial booking with NHD, you provide consent for staff and doctors to access and use your personal information so they can provide you with the best possible healthcare. Only staff who need to see your personal information will have access to it. NHD will not share personal information about you to a third party without seeking your consent except in situations covered below under ‘Disclosing your personal information’. If we need to use your information for anything else, we will seek additional consent from you to do so.
How do we collect your personal information?
NHD will collect your personal information:
- When you register with our service i.e. pre-registration
- When you make your first booking or attempt at booking with our service
- During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information
- We may also collect your personal information when you visit our website, send us an email or SMS, telephone us, make an online appointment or communicate with us using social media.
Your medical records
NHD takes steps to ensure that your medical records:
- Are accurate, complete, well-organised and legible
- Are up to date
- Contain enough information to allow another General Practitioner (GP) to care for you.
If you are uncertain why information is being requested, please ask our Privacy Officer. If you wish to remain anonymous while accessing healthcare services, please speak to one of our staff.
Disclosing your personal information
Subject to the particular restrictions on sensitive information (see below) we may disclose your personal information to:
- Any person you request or consent to receiving the information
- In the case of a minor, to the parent with parental responsibility
- To any other authorised representative such as a legal guardian or Power of Attorney
- Your treating doctor or regular general practitioner
- Health professionals that are or will be involved in your care such as emergency departments and ambulance services
- Anyone we are required or authorised by law to disclose the personal information
- Medicare or other health insurance companies where it is necessary for you to obtain Medicare payments or other health insurance rebates, or
- Our contractors assisting us to facilitate the provision of healthcare services or other services to you
- Anyone included in a transfer of all or part of our assets or businesses
- There is an overriding public health and safety interest in the release of the information.
In the above cases, only information necessary to meet the requirements will be provided. Your health information will not ordinarily be sent overseas unless: you are informed and provide consent for this to occur, and the overseas country receiving the information has privacy laws that are very similar to the Australian Privacy Principles.
Sensitive information will only be used for the purposes for which it was provided or for a purpose directly related to such purpose, unless you agree otherwise, or the use or disclosure of the sensitive information is required or authorised by law.
By providing your personal information, you are consenting to provisions outlined previously and to the collection, use and disclosure provisions described. NHD requires that organisations to which it discloses your personal information have in place reasonable safeguards for protecting personal information. These organisations are only permitted to use the information for services or functions for which they have been engaged.
Providing your information to GPs and others
NHD respects your right to decide how your personal information is used or shared. Personal information that identifies you will be sent to your GP or General Practice or other health professionals that are or will be involved in your care, such as Emergency Departments and Ambulance Services. Your personal information will only be sent to other people with your consent unless there are exceptional circumstances. Gaining your consent is the guiding principle used by NHD in using and sharing your information. NHD routinely sends your patient report to your GP or General Practice in ensuring continuity of care the following business day after your consultation.
Using health information for quality improvement and research
NHD may use your health information to assist in improving the quality of care we give to all our patients, by reviewing the treatments used in the service.
Your information held by NHD may be used in research projects to improve healthcare in the community; however, this information will not include data that can identify you.
The information used for research, including the publication of research results, will not be in a form that would allow you to be identified, unless the research serves an important public interest. In such cases, identifiable medical records can be used for medical research without your consent under guidelines issued by the Australian Government. Before providing such identified information, NHD will discuss with you the information that she or he is obliged to disclose.
How can you access your health information?
Sharing information is important for good communication between NHD and yourself. You can request access to your medical record and any other information NHD records about you. You may also ask our staff about any aspect of your healthcare, including information contained in your record.
In the case of minors or individuals who are not capable of making this request, a parent with parental responsibility or legal guardian can request access to the medical records and any other information NHD records of the relevant child or person.
If you or an authorised representative (such as a parent or legal guardian) requests access to your medical record, NHD will need to take reasonable steps to confirm the identity of the person making the request. For authorised representatives, such as parents or legal guardians, NHD will also take reasonable steps to confirm the identity of the patient and confirm the requestor is an authorised representative by means such as confirmation from both parents, court orders indicating parental responsibility, or other legal documents demonstrating legal guardianship.
When reviewing requests for access, NHD will need to consider if there may be a risk of physical or mental harm to you or any other person that may result from disclosure of your health information. NHD may need to remove any information that will affect the privacy of other individuals. Depending on what is involved, you may be asked to contribute to the cost of providing the information.
How do we protect your personal information?
Australian privacy legislation applies to all personal health information recorded in electronic and paper records. All records must be kept secure to protect against unauthorised access. NHD complies with these requirements to protect your information. Unauthorised use of confidential information is grounds for litigation in Australia. NHD does not tolerate any misuse of confidential information.
We reserve the right to change this policy at any time.
Resolving concerns regarding the privacy of your health information
If you have any concerns regarding the privacy of your personal health information or the accuracy of the information held by NHD, you should discuss these with our Privacy Officer. Inaccurate information can be corrected, or your concerns noted in your record. For legal reasons, the original notes will be retained.
If you wish to contact us about your personal information or make a complaint about possible breaches of privacy, you should direct enquiries to:
13SICK, National Home Doctor
Po Box 528, Spring Hill, QLD, 4004
The Privacy Officer will endeavour to deal with your enquiry or complaint as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Further information on privacy legislation is available from: