St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney is a values-based organisation and is committed to compliance with the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) which protects the privacy of health information in New South Wales. We also respect and uphold your rights to privacy protection under the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988.
The following information details our obligations with regard to your personal and health information. If you have any queries, problems or special requirements associated with the collection of your information while you are in our care please advise the admission clerk at the time of your admission and your issues will be noted.
What information will St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney collect about me?
When you become a patient of St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney a record is made containing information such as your name, address, date of birth, emergency contacts, health fund, GP contact details, the nature of the problem for which you seek treatment, investigations, advice you were given and other information relevant to your care. In some instances, it may be necessary to collect information about you from your next of kin, person to notify, relatives or carers. Every time you are admitted to the hospital, your information is updated and any new information added.
Why is information collected?
St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney only collects information that is needed to ensure your best possible care and to manage the health service effectively. Your previous medical history will help us to identify which treatments are likely to be safe and effective for you and also to help reduce the likelihood of unnecessarily repeating tests that you have had in the past. To help look after your own health we ask that you provide us with accurate and complete information.
The importance of accurate up-to-date information
When you are admitted, the admission staff will check with you your name, date of birth, address, contact details and your local doctor’s contact details, in case anything has changed since your last admission. It is extremely important that we have the correct details to ensure that you can be properly identified at all times. Should an emergency arise and we need to contact your person to notify, we need correct phone numbers as well as a street address. We require a street address as well as a post office box for contact. We are happy to direct mail to a post office box, should you make this request.
How do I protect my information?
We record and update information about you in both hard copy and electronic form. When not required for your clinical care, your hard copy medical record is kept securely within our Health Information Services Department and may be stored at an offsite storage location contracted to St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney. Information about you is also located within the organisation’s password protected clinical information computer system and is available to healthcare professionals who are involved in your care. Staff are bound by a formal code of conduct about the confidentiality of your information and on employment they sign a confidentiality undertaking with regard to your information as part of the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000. We maintain strict policies regarding who has the authority to access your personal information and we educate and monitor staff to ensure information is handled confidentially and with respect and care.
Who else might have access to information about me?
St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney works closely with St Vincent's Hospital, the Mater Hospital North Sydney and the Sacred Heart Hospice. These health services are part of and managed by St Vincent’s Health Australia. The hospital also works closely with St Vincent’s Clinic which is an affiliated organisation. To help co-ordination of your clinical care, reduce the need to repeat tests and other clinical assessments and to reduce the need for you to give the same information again to other people involved in your care, if you attend another facility within St Vincent's Health Australia, relevant information about you may be made available to healthcare professionals at that facility.
Who might receive information regarding my care and treatment?
Your local doctor (GP) - With your consent, we send a letter to your local doctor when you are admitted to St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney and when you go home after an admission. The letters advise the doctor of your admission to the hospital and on discharge summarises your time at St Vincent's Private and any special instructions your doctor needs to know about.
Sometimes your local doctor will contact your consultant or the hospital for additional information about your treatment. In this situation and with your permission, we will only release information to the doctor whom you have specified as your local doctor on your patient registration form. Other hospitals or new doctors at another hospital or a new local doctor may contact us to obtain information about you, so that they can treat you safely and effectively. We will release personal information about you to assist with your care after confirmation of the identity and purpose of the request with the person requesting your health information.
Community Health and Support Services - You may need support services when you go home. We will release relevant information to enable these services to provide their support and continue your care.
Your next of kin, person to notify, relatives or carers - General information about your condition may also be provided to your next of kin, person to notify, relatives or carers, unless you request otherwise.
Research - One of your treating health professionals may advise you about a research study that you may be eligible to join. You can choose if you would like to be involved. This information may also be used for research that will help provide better healthcare for the community. The St Vincent’s Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) only approves application for research after undertaking thorough investigation and review. Researchers must follow strict guidelines and maintain the confidentiality of the information they access. No personal, identifiable information will leave the organisation for research without your prior consent.
Will anyone else receive information about me?
In some circumstances, laws obligate us to release personal information about you.
Examples of this include:
Presentation of your medical record as evidence in court when subpoenaed.
Compulsory reporting to State and Federal authorities.
We may use or disclose patient information for other purposes required for the operation of the organisation, including safety and quality improvement initiatives and billing. For example, where relevant, we may need to disclose patient information to Medicare, private health funds or the Department of Veteran Affairs.
How can I access my information?
What should I do if I have a complaint about the privacy of my health information?
If you are not satisfied with the way in which we handle your information or deal with your privacy concerns, you may wish to make a formal complaint to the Office of NSW Privacy Commissioner on 1800 472 679.
Rights and responsibilities
At St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney we are committed to providing the highest possible standards of health care. We support the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights and we ask that you respect our Catholic heritage, culture and tradition. In particular, Catholic literature and icons which are central to our healing ministry and Gospel values.
Patients have a right to expect a certain standard of healthcare, this includes:
Care that is respectful, which reflects consideration of your personal values and beliefs and which optimises your comfort and dignity.
A high standard of professional care from competent and appropriately qualified staff.
To be informed about facilities, services, costs, medications used, methods of treatment and referrals to other services.
Involvement with the healthcare team in the planning and implementation of your care.
Patients can legally discharge themselves at any time, even against the advice of their doctor or hospital staff. However, they must accept the associated risks and sign a form taking responsibility before leaving the Hospital.
Confidentiality of communications and records pertaining to your health care.
Patient also have certain responsibilities, these include:
To provide accurate and complete information about your condition, past illness and medications as outlined in our health questionnaire.
To consider other patients in our care; in particular we ask for your cooperation with the control of noise, respect of property and the observation of the non-smoking policy within the buildings of St Vincent's Private Hospital.
To treat all healthcare workers employed by St Vincent's Private Hospital with respect and courtesy regardless of their cultural and ethnic background.
To understand that while staff strive to provide the best care possible, they are required to prioritise their time according to the needs of all of our patients.
How to make a complaint, compliment or suggestion about your healthcare or treatment
You are entitled to comment on or complain about the services you receive in a hospital. If during your stay you or your family has any concerns, please direct them to the staff caring for you or the Nurse Unit Manager (NUM).
The hospital would also appreciate hearing from you if you have a suggestion for improvement or a compliment about the service. If you would like to make a statement about the care you received, please use our consumer feedback form available in patient rooms or from the receptionist in any department of the Hospital. A reply-paid envelope is available should you wish to take the form home and complete it at a later date.
Consumer feedback form (PDF 197.1KB)
The New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) acts in the public interest by receiving, reviewing and investigating complaints about health care in New South Wales.
If you have a concern or a complaint we suggest that, in the first instance, you discuss the problem with the health service provider, either in person or on the telephone. The HCCC provides direct assistance to people through a telephone inquiry service. Callers are advised about the options available to resolve their concerns and how to make a complaint to the HCCC. To contact an inquiry officer please call 02 9219 7444 or 1800 043 159.
Privacy and your health information
St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney is a values-based organisation and is committed to ensuring that it complies with the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) which protects the privacy of health information in New South Wales. We will also respect and uphold your rights to privacy protection under the National Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988.