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Patients Rights & Responsibilities

Patient Rights

PRIVACY & YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS:

Officer Family Medical Clinic’s practice policy is to maintain the privacy of your health information confidential. We have strict guidelines set for all our staff at all times and only authorised members have access to the records.

As a patient you have the right to participate in discussions about your health. You as the patient can request a copy of your health records in writing. You also have the right to choose who you want to be referred to. If there is a fee applicable, this will be notified to you.

Our Privacy Policy

As of July 2023 Our privacy policy will provide information to you, the patient, on how your valuable personal health and private information is collected, stored and used within our practice, and the circumstances where we may have to share it with related third parties.

You have provided consent to our Doctors and practice staff to access and use your personal information when you registered as a patient of our practice. This enables them to understand and provide you with accurate and the most fitting health advice and health care. Therefore our staff who will need to see your personal information will have access to it. At any given time if we need to use your personal information for any other matter, our practice will always get consent from you before we proceed.

At OFMC, the main objective to collect, use, hold or share your personal information would be to achieve better healthcare goals for you. We may use it for directly related business activities such as financial claims and payments, practice audits and accreditation, staff training.

The information we will collect about you includes your:

  • Names, date of birth, addresses, contact details
  • Medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors
  • Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes
  • Healthcare identifiers
  • Pension Card/ Health Care Card Details.

As a patient you have the right to engage anonymously or under a pseudonym unless it is impracticable for us to do so or unless we are required or authorised by law to only deal with identified individuals.

Our practice may collect your personal information in several different ways.

  • When you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
  • During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information. Our Practice participates in eHealth services like electronic transfer of Prescriptions, Referrals and My Health Records.
  • We may also collect your personal information when you visit our website, send us an email, telephone us, make an online appointment.
  • In some circumstances personal information may also be collected from other sources. Often this is because it is not practical or reasonable to collect it from you directly. This may include information from:
    • your guardian or responsible person
    • other involved healthcare providers, such as specialists, allied health professionals, hospitals, community health services and pathology and diagnostic imaging services
    • Your health fund, Medicare, or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (as necessary).

We sometimes share your personal information:

  • With third parties who work with our practice for business purposes, such as accreditation agencies or information technology providers – these third parties are required to comply with this policy
  • With other healthcare providers
  • When it is required or authorised by law (eg court subpoenas)
  • When it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a patient’s life, health or safety or public health or safety, or it is impractical to obtain the patient’s consent
  • To assist in locating a missing person
  • To establish, exercise or defend an equitable claim
  • for the purpose of confidential dispute resolution process
  • When there is a statutory requirement to share certain personal information (eg some diseases require mandatory notification)
  • During the course of providing medical services, through online referrals, My Health Records (eg via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary).

Only people who need to access your information will be able to do so. Other than in the course of providing medical services or as otherwise described in this policy, our practice will not share personal information with any third party without your consent.

At OFMC we will not share your personal information with anyone outside Australia (unless under exceptional circumstances that are permitted by law) without your consent.

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 do not send any information overseas.

All of your information and records are stored electronically. Our practice has taken all measures for your information to be safe and secure. Our Server is in a secure locked room with entry locks and all computers have access passcodes to ensure unauthorized personal from gaining access.

All our staff are required to sign Confidential Agreements before they start.

Any documents that have patient information are destroyed securely.

How can you access and correct your personal information at our practice?

You have the right to request access to, and correction of, your personal information.

Our practice acknowledges patients may request access to their medical records. This can be done directly during consultation with your Doctor or through a request in writing. Once approved by your doctor, the request will be given to our reception staff to forward your records to you. If you are wanting your records transferred to another practice, we need to have a request in writing from the new practice that you are going to. On receipt of the request form, your records will be downloaded to a disc and sent to the new practice by registered mail (within 28 business days).

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. We also appreciate you letting us know if your details need updating.

How can you lodge a privacy-related complaint, and how will the complaint be handled at our practice?

We take complaints and concerns regarding privacy seriously. You should express any privacy concerns you may have in writing. We will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure. The complaint can be made verbally or in writing. Please ask the reception staff for the complaint form (Incident Form). Once received by the Practice manager, you will be contacted within 14 days. You will then receive a reply on how the complaint was dealt with, if you are unhappy with the outcome you can make a further complaint to the HSC (details below).

If you have a complaint with the Doctor or General Practice, please contact the Health Services Commissioner.

Telephone: 1300 582 113
Fax No.: (61 3) 9032 3111
26th Floor, 570 Bourke Street
Melbourne. 3000 Victoria

You may also contact the OAIC. Generally, the OAIC will require you to give them time to respond before they will investigate. For further information visit www.oaic.gov.au or call the OAIC on 1300 363 992.

Privacy and our website

Our practice does not use electronic means of communicating with patients. Emails(as it’s not encrypted) or social media. Kindly either call the practice or Fax to the practice. This is to ensure your information is safe. If you send us any information via email kindly note this will be at your own risk in the event of any breach in privacy.

Policy review statement

This privacy policy will be reviewed regularly to ensure it is in accordance with any changes that may occur. The updated date will be on the Privacy Statement.

COMPLAINTS & FEEDBACK:

Patient satisfaction affects health outcomes and our practice acknowledges that patient complaints are an important source of customer feedback.
If you have a complaint with the Doctor or General Practice, please contact the 

Health Services Commissioner

Telephone: 1300 582 113
Fax No.: (61 3) 9032 3111
Address: 26th Floor, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne. Victoria, 3000.

Suggestions

Suggestions: If you have a suggestion on how we can improve the practice services, we would like to hear about it. You may wish to complete a patient feedback survey which can be found at the front reception desk.

PATIENT RESPONSIBILITIES

AS A PATIENT:

See reception staff on arrival and you must show your Medicare Card / HCC / PC and verify 3 forms of identification.
  •  Date of birth.
  • Address
  • Telephone numbers
  • This is a legal requirement to make sure all details are up-to-date and to make sure the correct patient is being seen.
  • Treat reception staff with respect, I expect to receive.
  • Treat reception staff with courtesy and understanding, specially under pressure.
  • Remember that the receptionist is not to be blamed for delays
  • Accept that the doctor / patient relationship is a partnership
  • Not discriminate against any health professional on the grounds of ethnicity, sex or disability.
  • Value and respect the service provided.
  • Acknowledge that I will not be given a script every time I attend the clinic.
  • Cancel my appointment as soon as I know that I am unable to attend (at least 2 hours prior to the appointment time so we can forward the appointment to another patient).
  • Inform reception staff if a longer appointment is required (for forms, etc).

VERBAL OR PHYSICAL ABUSE WILL NOT BE TOLERATED-PATIENTS WHO ABUSE ANY MEMBER OF THE PRACTICE TEAM WILL BE SENT A FORMAL WRITTEN WARNING AND IN THE EVENT OF RE-OCCURANCE WILL BE REMOVED FROM THE PRACTICE LIST.

ETHICAL DILEMMAS

Clinical situations that raise ethical questions are a challenge to navigate. Often, there are multiple clinical facts to consider including patient values and preferences and the concerns and values of family.

In reaching an ethical decision or recommendation, we use key ethical principles.

Key ethical principles include:

  • Justice – Patients should be treated equally, and there should be equity of access to services regardless of place of residence, ethnicity, gender, religion, age or disability.
  • Respect for autonomy – The right of an individual to self-determination, including privacy and confidentiality.
  • Beneficence – Taking positive action to do good.
  • Non-maleficence – Do no harm.

There may be tension when these principles are considered with respect to the right of an individual to:

  • know, or not to know, information relevant to their own health (autonomy)
  • disclose, or not to disclose, personal information (privacy)
  •  make an informed decision regarding genetic testing.

In any of these situations, it is important to explore with the patient the potential harms and benefits, and the reasons for their request.

Referral to allied services, such as counselling may be recommended.