St Vincent’s Private Hospital is a values-based organisation and is committed to compliance with the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) which protects the privacy of health information in New South Wales. We also respect and uphold your rights to privacy protection under the National Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988.
The following information details our obligations with regard to your personal and health information. If you have any queries, problems or special requirements associated with the collection of your information while you are in our care please advise the admission clerk at the time of your admission and your issues will be noted.
What information will St Vincent’s Private Hospital collect about me?
When you become a patient of St Vincent's Private Hospital a record is made containing information such as your name, address, date of birth, emergency contacts, health fund, GP contact details, the nature of the problem for which you seek treatment, investigations, advice you were given and other information relevant to your care. In some instances, it may be necessary to collect information about you from your next of kin, relatives or carers. Every time you are admitted to the hospital, your information is updated and any new information added.
Why is information collected?
St Vincent's Private Hospital only collects information that is needed to ensure your best possible care and to manage the health service effectively. Your previous medical history will help us to identify which treatments are likely to be safe and effective for you and also to help reduce the likelihood of unnecessarily repeating tests that you have had in the past. To help look after your own health we ask that you provide us with accurate and complete information.
The importance of accurate up-to-date information
When you are admitted, the admission staff will check with you, your name, date of birth, address contact details or your local doctor’s contact details in case anything has changed since your last admission. It is extremely important that we have the correct details to ensure that you can be properly identified at all times. Should an emergency arise and we need to contact your person to notify, we need the correct phone numbers as well as a street address. We require a street address as well as a post office box for contact. We are happy to direct mail to the post office box should you make this request.
How do I protect my information?
We record and update information about you in both hard copy and electronic form. When not required for your clinical care, your hard copy medical record is kept securely within our Health Information Services Department. Information about you is also located within the organisation’s password protected clinical information computer system and is available to healthcare professionals who are involved in your care. Staff are bound by a formal code of conduct about the confidentiality of your information and on employment they sign a confidentiality undertaking with regard to your information as part of the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000. We maintain strict policies regarding who has the authority to access your personal information and we educate and monitor staff to ensure information is handled confidentially and with respect and care.
Who else might have access to information about me?
St Vincent's Private Hospital works closely with St Vincent's Hospital, the Mater Hospital North Sydney and the Sacred Heart Hospice. These health services are part of St Vincent’s Health Australia and are managed by St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney. The hospital also works closely with St Vincent’s Clinic which is an affiliated organisation. To help co-ordination of your clinical care, reduce the need to repeat tests and other clinical assessments and to reduce the need for you to give the same information again to other people involved in your care, if you attend another facility within St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney, relevant information about you may be made available to healthcare professionals at that facility.
Who might receive information regarding my care and treatment?
Your local doctor (GP) - with your consent, we send a letter to your local doctor when you are admitted to St Vincent’s Private Hospital and when you go home after an admission. The letters advise the doctor of your admission to the hospital and on discharge summarises your time at St Vincent's Private and any special instructions your doctor needs to know about.
Sometimes your local doctor will contact your consultant or the hospital for additional information about your treatment. In this situation and with your permission, we will only release information to the doctor whom you have specified as your local doctor on your patient registration form. Other hospitals or new doctors at another hospital or a new local doctor may contact us to obtain information about you, so that they can treat you safely and effectively. We will release personal information about you to assist with your care after confirmation of the identity and purpose of the request with the person requesting your health information.
Community Health and Support Services - You may need support services when you go home. We will release relevant information to enable these services to provide their support and continue your care.
Relatives, next of kin and/or significant other(s) - General information about your condition may also be provided to your next of kin, a near relative and/or significant other(s), unless you request otherwise. This instruction can be completed by completing the form ‘consent to use personal information’ on the back of the pre-admission information form we ask you to complete
Research - One of your treating health professionals may advise you about a research study that you may be eligible to join. You can choose if you would like to be involved. This information may also be used for research that will help provide better healthcare for the community. The St Vincent’s Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) only approves application for research after undertaking thorough investigation and review. Researchers must follow strict guidelines and maintain the confidentiality of the information they access. No personal, identifiable information will leave the organisation for research without your prior consent.
Will anyone else receive information about me?
In some circumstances, laws obligate us to release personal information about you.
Examples of this include:
- Presentation of your medical record as evidence in court when subpoenaed.
- Compulsory reporting to State and Federal authorities.
We may use or disclose patient information for other purposes required for the operation of the organisation, including safety and quality improvement initiatives and billing. For example, where relevant, we may need to disclose patient information to Medicare, private health funds or the Department of Veteran Affairs.
How can I access my information?
If you want more information or if you do not understand an aspect of your care, the best person to speak to is your doctor or someone in your healthcare team. In accordance with the Health Records and Information Act 2002, you have the right to make a written application for access to your medical record and personal information held by St Vincent's Private Hospital. An administration and copying fee may be charged. If there is information in the record that you believe is incorrect, you have the right to request that it be corrected. Please contact Health Information Services on +61 0(2) 8382 7191 or email.
Under the legislation, in special circumstances, access to your personal information may be declined (for example, where giving access would put you or another person at risk of harm). For issues related to your medical record and its content, please contact the deputy manager, Health Information Services on +61 0(2) 8382 7191.
What should I do if I have a complaint about the privacy of my health information?
If you are not satisfied with the way in which we handle your information or deal with your privacy concerns, you may wish to make a formal complaint to the Office of NSW Privacy Commissioner on +612 9268 5588.