Elermore Vale General Practice recognises the importance of privacy, confidentiality and protection of all our patients. Elermore Vale General Practice will make this Privacy Policy available to anyone who asks for it. We ensure that our staff complies by our Privacy Policy.  Elermore Vale General Practice collects personal information for the primary purpose of managing a patient’s healthcare and for financial claims and payments related to their healthcare.

The staff at Elermore Vale General Practice will take reasonable steps to ensure patients understand:

• what information has been and is being collected

• why the information is being collected, and whether this is due to a legal requirement

• how the information will be used or disclosed

• why and when their consent is necessary

• the practice’s procedures for access and correction of information, and responding to complaints of information breaches, including by providing this policy.

Elermore Vale General Practice will only interpret and apply a patient’s consent for the primary purpose for which it was provided. The practice staff must seek additional consent from the patient if the personal information collected may be used for any other purpose.

Elermore Vale General Practice will need to collect personal information as a provision of clinical services to a patient at the practice. Collected personal information will include patients’:

• Names, addresses 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.

A patient’s personal information may be held at the Practice in various forms:

• paper records

• electronic records

• visual – x-rays, CT scans, videos and photos

The Practice’s procedure for collecting personal information is set out below.

1. Practice staff collects patients’ personal and demographic information via registration when patients present to the Practice for the first time. Patients are encouraged to pay attention to the collection statement attached to/within the form and information about the management of collected information and patient privacy.

2. During the course of providing medical services, the Practice’s healthcare practitioners will consequently collect further personal information.

3. Personal information may also be collected from the patient’s guardian or responsible person (where practicable and necessary), or from any other involved healthcare specialists.

The Practice holds all personal information securely, whether in electronic format, in protected information systems or in hard copy format in a secured environment.

Personal information will only be used for the purpose of providing medical services and for claims and payments, unless otherwise consented to. Some disclosure may occur to third parties engaged by or for the Practice for business purposes, such as accreditation or for the provision of information technology. These third parties are required to comply with this policy. The Practice will inform the patient where there is a statutory requirement to disclose certain personal information (for example, some diseases require mandatory notification).

Patient information may be shared between the general practitioners, nurses, allied health providers and non-clinical staff for the purpose of managing your health. This information will only be used to fulfil our staff's duties, in the course of planning and managing your health care.

The Practice will not disclose personal information to any third party other than in the course of providing medical services, without full disclosure to the patient or the recipient, the reason for the information transfer and full consent from the patient. The Practice will not disclose personal information to anyone outside Australia without need and without patient consent.

Exceptions to disclose without patient consent are where the information is:

• required by law

• necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a patient’s life, health or safety or public health or safety, or it is impractical to obtain the patient’s consent

• assisting in locating a missing person

• establishing, exercising or defending an equitable claim

• for the purpose of a confidential dispute resolution process.

The Practice will not use any personal information in relation to direct marketing to a patient without that patient’s express consent. Patients may opt-out of direct marketing at any time by notifying the Practice in a letter or email.

The Practice evaluates all unsolicited information it receives to decide if it should be kept, acted on or destroyed.