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The Narrabeen Family Medical Practice Privacy Policy

First, we should tell you that having a privacy policy is a legal requirement. However, we hasten to add that for us it goes much deeper than legalities. At Narrabeen Family Medical, we believe that having your total trust is critical. If you don't feel you can confide fully in us, we could be unaware of some vital piece of information regarding your health. And you could end up suffering needlessly.

So that you feel comfortable entrusting your health information to us, we adhere to privacy principles established by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. As you can see below, the policy tells you how we collect and use your personal information within this practice, as well as the circumstances in which we may disclose it to third parties. Please feel free to print out a copy if you wish.

staff responsibility - The onus is on our doctors, nurses and administrative staff to take reasonable steps to ensure you understand:

  • what information has been and is being collected
  • why we are collecting it and whether this is due to a legal requirement
  • how the information will be used or disclosed
  • why and when your consent is necessary
  • our procedures for access and correction of information, and responding to complaints of information breaches, including the provision of this policy.

patient consent - You should know that we will only interpret and apply your consent for the primary purpose for which you provided it. If your personal information is to be used for any other purpose, we must seek additional consent from you.

the type of information we may need - In order to provide you with the heath care you require, we will have to collect personal information including your:

  • name, address and contact details
  • Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes
  • healthcare identifiers
  • medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors,
  • mobile phone numbers so that we can send you text messages (SMS), generally to remind you of upcoming appointments or to alert you to test results that need attention. If you have any questions just ask a receptionist or your doctor.

When you first visit us and provide the required personal and demographic information, we encourage you to take heed of the collection statement attached to/within the form and information about the management of collected information and patient privacy. Over the course of time, your doctors and nurses will likely need to collect further personal information. In some cases a guardian or responsible person (where practicable and necessary), or other involved healthcare specialist may provide such data.

Your doctor will only collect information that is relevant to your medical care. In the case of workers compensation, third-party or public liability claims, some non-medical information may be requested. If you are uncertain as to why the information is being collected, ask your doctor.

your medical records - We may hold your information in several forms: paper or electronic records; x-rays, CT scans, videos or photos. However it appears, we will do our best to make sure that your medical records:

  • are accurate, comprehensive, well-organised, legible and up to date
  • have enough information to allow another doctor to care for you
  • do not contain offensive or irrelevant comments about you
  • contain a summary of your care, and
  • can be used to remind you, with your permission, to return for follow-up check-ups and reviews.

Narrabeen Family Medical Practice holds all personal information - whether in hard-copy format, electronic format or protected information systems - in a secured environment.

Here's something new. We can now electronically transfer prescriptions via a secure messaging system directly to your pharmacy. The only proviso is that they have to be part of the system.

We also can transfer critical information via the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) to other parties. For instance, we could send your medication list to a hospital's emergency department. At all times you are in complete control of what information can or cannot be transferred.

Narrabeen Family Medical Practice has procedures in place to ensure any patient data sent electronically via both these methods is encrypted and unable to be accessed by anyone other than the intended recipient.

providing your information to other medical professionals - The doctors at Narrabeen Family Medical Practice respect your right to decide how your personal health information is used or disclosed. In all but exceptional circumstances, we will never send personal information that identifies you to other people without your consent. Gaining your consent is the guiding principle.

It is important that other people involved in your care (diagnosis and treatment), such as specialists, therapists and other doctors, are informed of relevant parts of your medical history so they can best care for you. Your doctor may write a referral or letter to another doctor, which, with your consent, will be posted or handed to you for you to take to them. If you have any concerns about this, discuss them with you doctor.

Within the Narrabeen Family Medical Practice, it is possible that another doctor in the group could need access to your medical records (for example, when your treating doctor is absent). If you have any concerns about this, please discuss with your treating clinician.

providing your information to third parties - Your doctor will not disclose your personal health information to a third party (e.g., rehabilitation providers, insurance companies, solicitors and employers) unless:

  • you have consented to the disclosure, or this disclosure is necessary because you are at risk of harm without treatment, and you are unable to give consent; for example, you might be unconscious after an accident, or
  • your doctor is legally obliged to disclose the information (e.g., infectious diseases, suspected child abuse or a court order), or
  • the information is necessary to obtain Medicare payments or other health insurance rebates, or
  • the information is necessary for the doctors in the practice to carry out a review of their practice for the purpose of improving the quality of care provided, and the activity has been approved by government legislation or medical college. This provides safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the information provided, or
  • there is an overriding public interest in the release of the information.

In any of the above cases, we will only provide information that is necessary to achieve the objective.

using health information for research and quality improvement (medical) - We occasionally use (completely anonymous) patient health information in research projects to improve health care in the community.

Wherever possible, any information used for research or teaching purposes (including publications) will not be in a form that would allow you to be identified.

your access to health information - You may ask your doctor about any aspect of your health care, including information in your record, to which you can have access. We believe that sharing information is important for good communication between you and your doctor.

Information in your record can be provided to you by way of an accurate and up-to-date summary of your care; for instance, if you are moving away and transferring to a new doctor. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor if you want a summary of your care for any reason. If you do make such a request, your clinician will need to take out any information provided by others on a confidential basis, as well as considering the risk of any physical or mental harm to you or another person which may result from disclosure of your health information.

Your doctor will be pleased to provide a full explanation of the health summary or medical record provided. You will be expected to cover any costs that might be incurred in collecting the information.

resolving concerns regarding the privacy of your health information - If you have any concerns regarding the privacy of your health information or regarding the accuracy of the information held by the practice, you should discuss these with your doctor.

We will correct inaccurate information or note your concerns in the records if it is not possible or desirable to alter the original record.

Further information on privacy legislation is available from The Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner, phone 1300 363 992.

dealing with us anonymously - You have the right to communicate with us without revealing your identity unless doing so is either impractical for us or we are required or authorised by law to deal only with identified individuals.

health care complaints - If there is a problem that you wish to take up outside of this practice, you can contact the NSW Government centre for handling complaints. Either phone them on 9219 7444, mail them at Health Care Complaints Commission, Locked Mail Bag 18, Strawberry Hills NSW 2012, or visit