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Documentation: The legal aspects Maternal and Child Health Conference5 February 2010 Your speakers: Joanne Kummrow Daniel Perkins
Overview • Record keeping • Importance of ‘consent’ • Information legislation • Health Records Act 2001 • Information Privacy Act 2000 • Freedom of Information Act 1982 • Public Records Act 1973 • FOI case study • Discussion & questions East Kew Baby Health Centre Source: Victorian Heritage Database
Record keeping • Why do we keep records? • How much information is enough? Former Echuca Baby Health Care Centre Source: Victorian Heritage Database
Importance of consent • What is consent? • When is consent required? • Is it always required? • Issuing by a court of a subpoena • Mandatory reporting requirements for professionals under the Children and Young Persons Act 1989 (s 67) • How does consent apply under the information legislation?
Information legislation • Health Records Act • Provides access to health records and information • Information Privacy Act • Protects personal information of individuals • Freedom of Information Act • Provides a general right of access to information held by government and its agencies
Health Records Act • Regulates the collection and handling of ‘health information’ in the public and private sector in Victoria • Applies to health service providers and persons who collect, hold or use health information in the public and private sectors. • Contains a set of Health Privacy Principles (HPPs) • Protection of health information • Use of health information • Access to health information
Information Privacy Act • Regime for the collection and handling of ‘personal information’ • Applies to government agencies, including local government and its MCH Service • ‘Personal information’ • ‘Sensitive information’ • Information Privacy Principals (IPPs) must be complied with • Collection of information • Use and disclosure of information • Data quality • Access and correction • Breaches of IPP – example
Freedom of Information Act • Access available to all (s 3) • Act promotes release of information subject to exemptions: • Personal information (s 33) • Information provided in confidence (s 35) • ‘Document’ includes electronically stored information • Provides for correction of information (s 39) • Obligation to consider possible editing of exempt documents where practicable (s 25)
Personal information – s 33(1) • Balance: access vs privacy • ‘Personal information’ includes a name, address or means of identifying a third party (s 33(9)) • Release must be ‘unreasonable’ (s 33(1)) • A person can access their personal information (s 33(2)) • Agency must consult with a third party before release
Confidential information – s 35(1) • Protects information communicated in confidence to an agency • Disclosure must be contrary to public interest in that it would be reasonably likely to impair ability of agency to obtain similar information in future
FOI – What happens next? • Internal review • Review of internal decision by VCAT Former Croydon Baby Health Centre Source: Maroondah City Council
FOI case study • Baby Stella has attended Northcote MCH Service since birth and is now aged eight months. • Stella’s parents have recently separated and both parents (Sarah and Martin) are applying for custody. • On her last visit, Sarah advised the MCH Service of her separation from Martin, new address and custody issues and concerns about David. • David later calls the MCH nurse, Jude and requests access to all of Stella’s MCH records for the purpose of an upcoming court case in which he is seeking custody of Stella. • Unbeknown to Martin, Stella’s MCH records include information about Stella, Martin and recent notes of Jude’s conversation with Sarah and Sarah’s new address. • Jude advises Martin to make a written FOI request to Northcote Council. • What information is Martin entitled to access under FOI? • What rights does Sarah have under FOI? • What exemptions may apply and why?
Discussion & questions Coburg Truby King Baby Health Centre Source: Victorian Heritage Database
Contacts • Joanne Kummrow e. email@example.com t. 9032 3009 • Daniel Perkins e. firstname.lastname@example.org t. 9032 3005