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Your Privacy

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne respects your privacy. This booklet explains how we protect and use your personal information, including:

•    why we collect your information
•    what information we get from you
•    how we protect your information
•    who we may provide your information to
•    how you can access your information from us. 

Why is information collected?

Collecting information from you, such as your medical history, helps us provide you with the best care and treatment. 

We like to get your information directly from you. If we can’t do this, we will get information from your family member, friend, carer or GP instead.

What information is collected about me?

The information we get from you is kept in your medical record. It includes:
•    your name
•    your contact details (such as your address and telephone number)
•    your date of birth
•    the name and contact number of an emergency contact
•    the name and address of your GP
•    your medical conditions
•    any test, treatment and medical advice given to you.
 
It is important the information we get from you is correct and complete. 

We will check your details each time you attend our hospital for an outpatient appointment or an inpatient admission. 

You can also help by telling us if your details have changed.

How do you protect my information?

We keep your information in paper and electronic medical records. These records are always stored securely. 

Not all staff can access the information in your medical record. Only staff involved in your care will access your information.

We train our staff to keep your information safe and secure. Under our Code of Conduct, staff must maintain your privacy and obey the law. 

Who will you provide my information to?

We may need to give information about you to other people involved in your care or if you ask us to. We will give you a choice about how we can use your information and get your consent before giving it to others. 

If you do not want us to give out information about you, please let us know. However, be mindful this can stop us giving you proper care now or in the future.

Other St Vincent’s services
If you go to another service of our hospital, we will give them information so you can receive the care you need. 

Your GP 
We will send your GP a letter if you have been admitted to our hospital. This letter will tell your GP about:
•    your medical condition and treatment
•    any medications you were given
•    any special or important instructions for your future care. 

Sometimes, we may send a letter to your GP after you been to an outpatient appointment to tell them about any changes to your medical condition and treatment.

Other hospitals and doctors 
If you need to go to another hospital or doctor, we will give them information about your medical condition and the care you need. We may also give your information to another hospital or doctor on request or in an emergency.

Carers and support services
If you need help to return home, we will give information about you to your carer or service provider so you can receive help you need.

Researchers
Your information may be used in research projects that help improve public healthcare. Sometimes, we will ask for your consent to use your information for research. We can also give your information in a way that keeps you anonymous.
 
We will only give information for research projects that are approved by an Ethics and Research Committee. All researchers must follow strict guidelines to keep your information safe.

Will anyone else receive information about me?

Under the law, we may need to give information about you if: 
•    a court issues us a subpoena
•    a government agency requires us to make a mandatory report
•    you give us information relating to a serious crime
•    you give us information that raises concerns for a child’s safety or wellbeing.

How can I access my information?

If you would like information about your medical condition or care, you can speak to your doctors and nurses. They can give you any information you need and answer your questions. 

Under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), you can ask for a copy of the information we have in your medical record. You can also ask us to correct any information you think is incorrect. These are called FOI requests.

FOI requests are made in writing. It can take us 28 days to reply to your FOI request and we can charge you a fee to make copies. 

In some cases, we can refuse your FOI request. If this happens, we will tell you why. We will also tell you what to do if you think our decision is wrong.

If you need more information about FOI requests, you can call our Freedom of Information Officer on (03) 9231 2775.

St Vincent’s Foundation 

The St Vincent’s Foundation supports our hospital by raising much-needed funds. These funds help purchase new equipment, fund research, and improve patient care. There are many ways you can ‘say thank you’ and support our hospital. 

If you would like to more information about the St Vincent’s Foundation, you can:
Call: (03) 9231 3365 
Access: www.stvfoundation.org.au
Visit:  St Vincent’s Hospital, 55 Rear Ground Floor, Victoria Parade Fitzroy VIC 3065

Questions or complaints

If you would like more information about privacy or to make a complaint, you can call our Patient Liaison Officer on (03) 9231 3108. 

We treat all complaints seriously. If we cannot resolve your complaint or you have serious concerns, you can also contact the Victorian Health Services Commissioner on (03) 8601 5200.

Resources

Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth)