Privacy Policy for Management of Personal Information

As a registered Allied Health Provider, PsychEquip complies with the requirements of the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000, in addition to observing the ethical guidelines of the Australian Psychological Society.

PsychEquip has a commitment to the protection of all client information under the relevant Acts and guidelines.  This document describes the PsychEquip privacy policy for the management of clients’ personal information. The psychological service provided is bound by the legal requirements of the Australian Privacy Principles set out in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

Client information
Client files are held in a secure filing cabinet which is accessible only to authorised employees. The information on each file includes personal information such as name, address, contact phone numbers, medical history, and other personal information collected as part of providing the psychological service.

How clients’ personal information is collected
A client’s personal information is collected in a number of ways during psychological consultation within the PsychEquip Practice, including when the client provides information directly to their PsychEquip Psychologist using hard-copy forms, correspondence via email, when the client interacts directly with PsychEquip employees such as the receptionist, and when other health practitioners provide personal information to your PsychEquip Psychologist, via referrals, correspondence and medical reports.

Consequence of not providing personal information
If the client does not wish for their personal information to be collected in a way anticipated by this Privacy Policy, their PsychEquip Psychologist may not be in a position to provide the psychological service to the client. Clients may request to be anonymous or to use a pseudonym, unless it is impracticable for their PsychEquip Psychologist to work with the client in this way, or if the PsychEquip Psychologist is required or authorised by law to deal with identified individuals. In most cases it will not be possible for you to be anonymous or to use a pseudonym, however if your PsychEquip Psychologist agrees to you being anonymous or using a pseudonym, you will be unable to utilise a GP Mental Health Care Plan or Private Health Insurance and therefore must pay consultation fees at the time of the appointment.

Purpose of holding personal information
A client’s personal information is gathered and used for the purpose of providing psychological services, which includes assessing, diagnosing and treating a client’s presenting issue. The personal information is retained in order to document what happens during sessions, and enables the psychologist to provide a relevant and informed psychological service.

Disclosure of personal information
Clients’ personal information will not be disclosed except when:
1. It is subpoenaed by a court; or
2. Failure to disclose the information would in the reasonable belief of the PsychEquip Psychologist place a client or another person at serious risk to life, health or safety; or
3. The client’s prior approval has been obtained to:
a) provide a written report to another professional or agency, e.g., a GP or a lawyer; or
b) discuss the material with another person, e.g. a parent, employer or health provider; or
c) disclose the information in another way; or
4. Disclosure is otherwise required by law.

A client’s personal information is not disclosed to overseas recipients, unless the client consents or such disclosure is otherwise required by law. Clients’ personal information will not be used, sold, rented or disclosed for any other purpose.

Requests for access and correction to client information
At any stage clients may request to see and correct the personal information about them kept on file. The psychologist may discuss the contents with them and/or give them a copy, subject to the exceptions in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). If satisfied that personal information is inaccurate, out of date or incomplete, reasonable steps will be taken in the circumstances to ensure that this information is corrected. All requests by clients for access to or correction of personal information held about them should be lodged with the Principal Psychologist Heather Menzies. These requests will be responded to in writing within 28 days, and an appointment will be made if necessary for clarification purposes.

Concerns
If clients have a concern about the management of their personal information, they may inform the Principal Psychologist Heather Menzies. Upon request they can obtain a copy of the Australian Privacy Principles, which describe their rights and how their personal information should be handled. Ultimately, if clients wish to lodge a formal complaint about the use of, disclosure of, or access to, their personal information, they may do so with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by phone on 1300 363 992, online at http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/making-a-privacy-complaint or by post to:
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,
GPO Box 5218, Sydney, NSW 2001.