Privacy & Feedback Policies

Dr Colin Walsh & SHORE for Women Practice Privacy Policy

1. Introduction

Our practice is committed to best practice in relation to the management of information we collect. This practice has developed a policy to protect patient privacy in compliance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (‘the Privacy Act’). Our policy is to inform you of:

  • the kinds of information that we collect and hold, which, as a medical practice, is likely to be ‘health information’ for the purposes of the Privacy Act;
  • how we collect and hold personal information;
  • the purposes for which we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information;
  • how you may access your personal information and seek the correction of that information;
  • how you may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles and how we will deal with such a complaint;
  • whether we are likely to disclose personal information to overseas recipients;

2.What kinds of personal information do we collect?

The type of information we may collect and hold includes:

  • Your name, address, date of birth, email and contact details
  • Medicare number , DVA number and other government identifiers, although we will not use these for the purposes of identifying you in our practice
  • Other health information about you, including:
  • notes of your symptoms or diagnosis and the treatment given to you
    • your specialist reports and test results
    • your appointment and billing details
    • your prescriptions and other pharmaceutical purchases
    • your dental records
    • your genetic information
    • your healthcare identifier
    • any other information about your race, sexuality or religion, when collected by a health service provider.

3. How do we collect and hold personal information?

We will generally collect personal information:

  • from you directly when you provide your details to us. This might be via a face to face discussion, telephone conversation, registration form or online form
  • from a person responsible for you
  • from third parties where the Privacy Act or other law allows it – this may include, but is not limited to: other members of your treating team, diagnostic centres, specialists, hospitals, the My Health Record system , electronic prescription services, Medicare, your health insurer, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

4. Why do we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information?

In general, we collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information for the following purposes:

  • to provide health services to you
  • to communicate with you in relation to the health service being provided to you
  • to comply with our legal obligations, including, but not limited to, mandatory notification of communicable diseases or mandatory reporting under applicable child protection legislation.
  • to help us manage our accounts and administrative services, including billing, arrangements with health funds, management of our ITC systems
  • for consultations with other doctors and allied health professional involved in your healthcare;
  • to obtain, analyse and discuss test results from diagnostic and pathology laboratories
  • for identification and insurance claiming
  • in the pursuit of unpaid accounts, including to debt recovery agencies
  • Information can also be disclosed through an electronic transfer of prescriptions service.
  • To liaise with your health fund, government and regulatory bodies such as Medicare, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) (if you make a privacy complaint to the OAIC), as necessary.

5. How can you access and correct your personal information?

  • You have a right to seek access to, and correction of the personal information which we hold about you.
  • For details on how to access and correct your health record, please contact our practice as noted below under ‘Contact Details’:
  • We will normally respond to your request within 30 days.

6. How do we hold your personal information?

Our staff are trained and required to respect and protect your privacy. We take reasonable steps to protect information held from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. This includes:

  • Holding your information on a secure server
  • Maintaining electronic protections including VPN, anti-virus software under the direction of an IT professional
  • Password-restricted access to personal information
  • Maintaining records in electronic format and destroying hard copy information after scanning
  • Staff sign confidentiality agreements

7. Privacy related questions and complaints

If you have any questions about privacy-related issues or wish to complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles or the handling of your personal information by us, you may lodge your complaint in writing to (see below for details). We will normally respond to your request within 30 days.
If you are dissatisfied with our response, you may refer the matter to the OAIC:
Phone: 1300 363 992
Email: [email protected]
Fax: +61 2 9284 9666
Post: GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001

8. Anonymity and pseudonyms

The Privacy Act provides that individuals must have the option of not identifying themselves, or of using a pseudonym, when dealing with our practice, except in certain circumstances, such as where it is impracticable for us to deal with you if you have not identified yourself.
It is largely impracticable for our medical practice to deal with patients anonymously or via a pseudonym. The provision of medical services is likely to be impacted, and billing via Medicare or a health insurer where applicable is likely to be impracticable.
If you wish to discuss the issues related to anonymity or the use of a pseudonym, please contact the practice (see ‘Contact Details’ below).

9. Overseas disclosure.

We may disclose your personal information to the following overseas recipients:

  • any practice or individual who assists us in providing services (such as where you have come from overseas and had your health record transferred from overseas or have treatment continuing from an overseas provider)
  • overseas transcription services
  • overseas based cloud storage e.g the Tricefy app allowing patients to access and download ultrasound images. Tricefy cloud storage is based in the Republic of Ireland.
  • anyone else to whom you authorise us to disclose it

10. Updates to this Policy

This Policy will be reviewed from time to time to take account of new laws and technology, changes to our operations and other necessary developments. Updates will be publicised on the practice’s website.

11. Privacy and websites

The privacy policy will ordinarily be made available on the practice website.
The website allows patients to submit an enquiry form. The enquiry form collects your name, email address, phone number and any comments you included. This information is transmitted to our practice email account (Outlook).
Our practice has a Facebook page and Instagram feed. These are public pages designed for us to provide general information about the practice and topics of interest. We do not communicate with patients via social media. We will not respond to clinical queries or statements on these pages. Patients who comment on our social media feeds should be aware of the public nature of these feeds i.e. anyone can read any information you place there. The practice will not be held liable for any information voluntarily submitted to an online/social media site by a patient.

12. Contact details for privacy related issues

Phone: 1300 460 111
Fax: 1300 460 222
Correspondence: The Practice Manager
Suite G6, 460 Pacific Hwy
St Leonards NSW 2065
Email: [email protected]

Practice Feedback Policy

Our practice welcomes and invites feedback from patients, family members and other stakeholders. We collect feedback in order to assess our services, identify what we are we doing well and identify areas for improvement. We value all feedback.

Our practice is committed to ensuring the management of feedback and complaints is consistent with the principles of open disclosure and fairness, accessibility, responsiveness, efficiency and integration.

Feedback and complaints may be provided in the following ways:

  • Verbally to a member of staff
  • Written feedback via:
    • Email to the practice email address [email protected] or via the online enquiry form on this website
    • Email directly to our Clinical Practice Manager, Nicole Lees, at [email protected]
    • Fax to 02 9986 0977
    • Letter to the practice address
  • Responding to the Feedback Invitation Email which is sent to all antenatal patients after their penultimate appointment.

All our staff receive training in managing and responding to feedback and complaints. Feedback may be addressed to any member of our team. We endeavour to provide an initial response within two business day, outlining the relevant processes to be followed and the anticipated timeline.

Our handling of feedback and complaints complies with our obligations under privacy, confidentiality and other relevant regulations.