At changemakers’ Psychology we respect the privacy and confidentiality of all clients. Psychologists are bound by the legal requirements of the National Privacy Principles from the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act of 2000 Further information can be obtained from the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner (Link here).
Your privacy is important to us, and maintaining confidentiality at the highest level is paramount to this. None of your information is released to anyone without your written permission. Where you have been referred to a changemakers’ psychologist by a GP or other health professional, a brief letter will advise of the therapeutic support provided.
All changemakers’ client files are stored in a secured filing area accessible only to authorized persons. As well as personal details obtained on client registration forms, your file holds all clinical notes made by your psychologist, and any correspondence, sent or received, relevant to the service being provided. Files are stored for seven years following your last visit, and disposal of old files is by way of on-site confidential shredding.
Purpose of Holding Information
The information you give changemakers’ forms part of the assessment, diagnosis and treatment you will receive for your condition or other psychological service provided. Clinical notes document therapeutic progress and informs the therapeutic process.
Requests to Access Client Information
The National Privacy Principle 6 applies only to individuals accessing information about themselves. Clients may request access to the information kept on their file at any time. Should you require your file notes, speak to you Changemakers’ psychologist. Your psychologist may wish to discuss file contents with you prior to providing you with a copy.
Access to couple or joint files will not automatically be given to one partner (or a legal representative). Access to couple or joint files will not be released without the prior written consent of both partners. Where information is sought by a third party, written consent by both partners must be sought before any information will be released.
Where applicable, any information released without proper written consent by both partners, will pertain solely to the individual making the request. In this case, any and all references made to/about the second partner will be withheld.
Parents wishing to view a child’s file, may not assume automatic right to access. In the case of an adolescent or under-age client, each case will be assessed in accordance with the Privacy Act guidelines. National Privacy Principle 2.4 allows that a psychologist may disclose health information about a client to the client’s parent if:
(a) the client is incapable of giving consent or cannot communicate consent AND
(b) the psychologist is satisfied that disclosure is necessary to provide appropriate care or treatment of the client OR the disclosure is made for compassionate reasons AND the disclosure is not contrary to any wish expressed by the client before the client became unable to communicate consent AND of which the psychologist is aware AND the disclosure is limited to the extent reasonable and necessary for a purpose as mentioned in (b).
Disclosure of Information to Other Professionals
Communication between professionals is sometimes necessary to ensure client welfare. Medicare’s mental health care plans, school teachers, year level co-ordinators, or other treating health care providers are examples where communication can assist a client’s circumstances. If disclosure is deemed necessary, it will be addressed with the client before any exchange or disclosure of information is made.
Reports or Subpoena
Requests for client reports from insurance companies, solicitors etc. must be made in writing and accompanied by a current release of information document, signed by the client. Where a court subpoena has been issued, psychologists are required by law to supply contents of client files.
Confidential information will be disclosed in pursuit of bad debts. Such disclosure will include identifying details and dates of service only.
Need more information about your privacy?
Should you have any concerns about the management of your personal information, please do not hesitate to raise them directly with your changemakers’ psychologist or please contact us at our East Doncaster Melbourne clinic on (03) 9848 5504 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.