Your Path to Health and Wellness Begins Here


Policies for a Transparent Partnership

The policies below refer to policies for Goonellabah Medical Centre.

1. Our Privacy Policy – 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. Why and when your consent is necessary

When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our Gps and practice staff to access and use your personal information so they can provide you with the best possible healthcare. Only staff who need to see your personal information will have access to it. If we need to use your information for anything else, we will seek additional consent from you to do this.

3. What kinds of personal information do we collect?

Definition of a Patient Health Record: The primary purpose of a health record is to provide a complete and accurate description of the patient’s medical history. This includes medical conditions, diagnoses, the care and treatment you provide, and results of such treatments. We collect information that is necessary and relevant to provide you with medical care and treatment, and manage our medical practice. 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.

4. 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, SMS, social media or online form
          during the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information
      • from a person responsible for you
      • information may also be collected through electronic transfer of prescriptions (eTP), My Health Record, eg via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary, or e-Referrals.
      • 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, theMy Health Record system, electronic prescription services,  Medicare, your health insurer, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

In emergency situations we may also need to collect information from your relatives or friends.

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

We will treat your personal information as strictly private and confidential. We will only use or disclose it for purposes directly related to your care and treatment, or in ways that you would reasonably expect that we may use it for your ongoing care and treatment. We will also take reasonable steps to ensure that your personal information is accurate, complete, up to date and relevant. 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
  • 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, pursuing unpaid accounts, management of our ITC systems, practice audits and accreditation, and business processes (eg staff training
  • 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
  • If you have a My Health Record, to upload your personal information to, and download your personal information from, the My Health Record system.
  • Information can also be disclosed through an electronic transfer of prescriptions service (eTP).
  • 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.
  • Our practice will not use your personal information for marketing any of our goods or services directly to you without your express consent. If you do consent, you may opt out of direct marketing at any time by notifying our practice in writing.
  • We may provide de-identified data to other organisations to improve population health outcomes. The information is secure, patients cannot be identified and the information is stored within Australia. You can let our reception staff know if you do not want your information included.

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

You are entitled to request access to, and to correct your medical records. We request that you put your request in writing and we will respond to it within a reasonable time frame, usually within 30 days. Please contact our practice as noted in section 10 below under ‘Contact Details’. There may be a fee for the administrative and professional costs of retrieving and providing you with access and / or copies of your medical record. This cost will be advised in advance when responding to your initial request. You may also be asked to attend the practice where practical to speak with your treating doctor to access medical information from your file. Our practice will take reasonable steps to correct your personal information where the information is not accurate or up to date. From time to time, we will ask you to verify that your personal information held by our practice is correct and current. You may also request that we correct or update your information, and you should make such requests in writing to the Practicing Doctor, Goonellabah Medical Centre, 616 Ballina Road, Goonellabah NSW 2480..


7. 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. Personal information that we hold is protected by:

  • Securing of premises – security alarm, CCTV surveillance, locked premises
  • Placing passwords and varying access levels on databases to limit access and protect electronic information from unauthorised interference, access, modification and disclosure
  • Holding your information on an encrypted database
  • Signed staff confidentiality agreements

8. 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 section 11 below under ‘Contact 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 ‘Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’ (OAIC):

Phone: 1300 363 992 Fax: +61 2 9284 9666


Post: GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001


9. 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.

10. Overseas disclosure

We will not transfer your personal information to an overseas recipient unless we have your consent or we are required to do so by law.

11. Contact details for privacy related issues

Mrs Dianne Kerr

General Manager

616 Ballina Road Goonellabah NSW 2480

(02) 6625 0000

12. 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.

13. Rights of access to health information

All patients have rights of access to health information held about them by this practice.

Accessing your health information may be as simple as requesting a copy of your latest pathology results from your medical practitioner during the course of a standard medical consultation.

However, more often than not, accessing your health information will involve far more work for our staff. We advise that the following procedure has been developed to ensure that all requests for access are dealt with as fairly and efficiently as possible:

  • All requests for access will be required to be made in writing, and addressed to the attention of the General Manager.
  • Requests for access will be acknowledged, in writing, within 7 days of the receipt of the request.
  • Applicants will be required to complete the standard consent form, and undertake to be bound by the terms of the document.
  • The total time between the receipt of a request for access and the time when access is granted shall not, ordinarily, exceed 30 days. Where it is not possible for access to be granted within 30 days, you will be notified, in writing, of this and advised when access will be granted.
  • Where access is refused to your medical file you will be advised in writing of the reasons for refusal, and your medical practitioner will contact you to discuss whether there are any means by which access may be facilitated.
  • You will not be permitted to remove any of the contents of your medical file from the medical practice, nor will you be permitted to alter or erase information contained in the medical record. If you believe that your personal information is not up-to-date, accurate and complete, you can ask to have it amended. Reasonable steps will then be taken to correct the information.
  • Where practicable, a medical practitioner will be present when access is granted to your file so that he or she may go through the contents of your file, and address any concerns that you may have in relation to the information contained within the file. A fee of $75 per 15 minutes or part thereof will be charged in relation to this attendance. We advise that a rebate will not be recoverable from Medicare for this service.
  • Should you request copies of any, or all, of the contents of your medical file, the following fees plus GST will be applicable: Photocopying/Printing 1 to 20 $1.50 per page 21 to 50 $1.20 per page 51 to 100 $1.00 per page 101 + $0.80 per page
  • Generally patients will be required to collect their records in person. However, in some limited circumstances patients may request that records are provided to another person. This provision will generally only apply where the patient is unable, due to illness or incapacity, to attend the practice in person.
  • If you are collecting a copy of your medical record or are authorised to collect the record of another person, you may be required to provide identification. Where possible this should be photographic identification.

Should you have any queries in relation to the above our practice staff are happy to address these for you.

Should you wish to make an application for access please approach our reception staff and they will assist you in getting started with your application.

Goonellabah Medical Centre
616 Ballina Road GOONELLABAH, N.S.W., 2480
Telephone (02) 6625-0000 Fax (02) 6624-4406 Email:

Publication date: 2 December, 2015

The policies of “Our privacy policy” and “Rights of access to health information” contained on this webpage are the policies directly relating to the policies of the Goonellabah Medical Centre.