The Commission has a Privacy Management Plan, which describes in detail the steps taken to protect your privacy. Any information provided to the Commission will be treated according to the relevant legislation.
Although, the complaint process is confidential, the Commission is obliged by law to notify the health service provider complained about of the nature of the complaint and the identity of the person who made it. Where a complaint is made on behalf of another person, the Commission will take into account that person’s privacy and generally seek their consent before proceeding with the complaint.
Where complaints concern the treatment of patients, the Commission will generally be unable to take action without disclosing the patients’ identity and details of the complaint so that the health service provider can give evidence about what happened. Sometimes, people want to complain without disclosing their identity or the fact that they have complained. The Commission can keep a complaint confidential if there is a reasonable fear that the complainant will be harassed or intimidated. If it is necessary to disclose the complaint in order to properly investigate the matter, however, the Commission must do so in fairness to the health service provider.
The Commission can collect, use and disclose private health information, if it is necessary to properly to deal with a complaint. If a complaint raises serious issues of public health or safety, the Commission can require private health records and information without the consent of the patient.
The Commission may disclose complaint related information to courts, the police, authorities regulating health practitioners and other bodies where the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in protecting the privacy of any person to whom the information relates.
Where a complaint results in a practitioner being prosecuted before a disciplinary body – the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal or a Professional Standards Committee – both the hearing before that body and its decision usually are made public. The disciplinary body can suppress certain information in its decision. Usually this is used to suppress any information that could identify a patient.
If you have any questions or concerns about your privacy, please contact us.
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