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Respecting Your Privacy


The privacy of your personal information is important to us at Western Hospital. We will always respect your right to privacy and protect your personal information. We are bound by the National Privacy Principles under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and we have developed a comprehensive policy to ensure full compliance. Our privacy policy outlines how we manage your personal information, including how it is collected, held, used and disclosed.


Collecting Personal Information


Western Hospital will collect and hold personal information for the purposes of the performance of any service. This information will generally include:

  • Your name, postal address and other contact details;

  • The identity and contact details of any representative appointed by you;

  • Your date of birth;

  • Health information necessary for the provision of service;

  • Your Medicare or health card number;

  • Your medical insurance details; and

  • Your credit card details.


We will update the information collected initially and will generally collect further and more detailed information, particularly of a health nature for the purposes of:


  • Providing you with accurate diagnosis and correct treatment;

  • The performance of any service requested or required or such consequential services as may become apparent; and

  • Providing you with appropriate care.


We will, to the extent that it is reasonable and practical to do so, collect your personal information from you. This will occur initially when you become a patient or client of Western Hospital and will again occur when you use our services or upon admission to Western Hospital. We will also update our information from time to time during the course of your treatment and care. If any information requested of the patient or client is not provided, Western Hospital may be unable to perform the services requested or required by that patient or client. In certain cases, we will collect personal information from third parties. For example, we may need advice from your doctor or other health professionals in relation to services and assistance that we might render to you or arrange for you.


Laws requiring collection of information

Western Hospital can collect information without consent if there is a law requiring such collection. This includes Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation, as well as the common law. Western Hospital may also be legally required to record certain details while providing health services.


Using and Disclosing Your Personal Information


We use the personal information collected to:

  • Provide diagnosis, treatment, care and services to you;

  • Render accounts to you for our services;

  • Inform you of changes to care and services; and

  • Develop the quality of our services and service infrastructure.


As you may expect, to meet your specific needs, we may need to disclose your personal information to organisations and individuals who are to provide services related to your health, care and welfare. Where your personal information is disclosed, we will seek to ensure that the information is held, used or disclosed consistently with the National Privacy Principles and other applicable privacy laws and codes.


Your privacy is protected Australia wide by the National Privacy Principles and every effort will be made to ensure your privacy if your information is sent interstate or overseas. The relevant organisations to which we would disclose your information include:


  • Your health care team (e.g. Your treating specialist, your general practitioner, allied health professionals);

  • Those involved in providing care and services to you (eg. Pathology, radiology and pharmacy)

  • Your health fund and hospital insurer

  • Those who are your next of kin and other close friends and relatives in circumstances in which your health and respect for your wishes requires their views;

  • Those involved in maintaining our systems, procedures and infrastructure for the provision of services to you;

  • Reporting bodies (eg. Statutory and Public Health requirements/Disease Register Notification);

  • The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards the overall accrediting body of hospitals in Australia;

  • And as authorised by law.


A charge may be payable where Western Hospital incurs costs associated with providing access of information.


For Medicare and Insurance Rebate purposes full disclosure of patients' and clients' information to those agencies is required.


Keeping Your Personal Information Accurate and up to Date


We will always aim to make sure that the personal information that we collect, use or disclose is accurate, complete and up to date. We will take reasonable steps to make sure this is the case and will update our records for that purpose at the time of each admission. For this purpose, we also ask that you let us know if any of our information appears inaccurate or out of date.


Protecting Your Personal Information


We store information in different ways including on paper and in electronic form. We recognise the importance of this information to you and we take reasonable steps to protect it from misuse, loss and unauthorised access.


Gaining Access to Your Personal Information


You can gain access to your personal information, subject to some exceptions allowed by law. Factors affecting a right to access include:


  • Where access would pose a serious threat to the life or health of any individual;

  • Where access would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others;

  • A frivolous or vexatious request;

  • The information relates to a commercially sensitive decision making process

  • Where access would be unlawful;

  • Where access would prejudice enforcement activities relating to criminal activities;

  • Legal dispute resolution proceedings;

  • Where denying access is required or authorised under law.


We will check the identity of individuals making requests to determine within 14 days whether they will be met.


Children have a right to privacy of their health information. At times it may be necessary to restrict access to personal health information by parents and/or guardians. This decision will be based on the professional judgement of the treating doctor and the law.


Government Identifiers


You will be identified by numbers and letters. We will limit the use of identifiers assigned to patients by Commonwealth agencies to activities necessary to fulfil Western Hospital's obligations to those agencies.


Dealing with Western Hospital Anonymously


Without your consent, we will not collect information from you that reveals your racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs or affiliations, membership of a professional or trade association, membership of a trade union, sexual preferences or practices or criminal records. This is subject to some exceptions including:


Where the collection is required by law;
When the information is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of a legal claim.


Resolving Privacy Issues


We encourage the informal resolution of any privacy complaints by discussion with the individual. If you have any issues you wish to discuss or would like us to discuss any issues about our privacy policy, then you are able to do so in a number of ways:


You are always welcome to speak directly to our staff. If after dealing with us the matter has not been addressed, you are always free to contact the Federal Privacy Commissioner.

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