NSW Health Pathology and has implemented measures to comply with its obligations under privacy laws.
General information about the privacy of patient information can be found on the NSW Health website.
Access to your pathology test results
You have a legally enforceable right to access your personal information, including health information. You are also able to consent to an authorised representative or third party receiving the information on your behalf.
You may access your pathology test results in a number of different ways, including by contacting the medical practitioner who referred you for the test, or through your individual My Health Record.
Alternatively, you can apply for access to results of pathology tests conducted by NSW Health Pathology by providing a completed Patient Declaration and Consent Form and proof of identity (e.g. current Australian driver’s licence or passport or two other forms of identification that include signature and current address details):
You can submit this form by email to [email protected] or by mail to:
The Privacy Contact Officer
NSW Health Pathology
PO Box 846
NEWCASTLE NSW 2300 or
You can also apply over the telephone by calling the NSW Health Pathology laboratory that conducted the test and providing proof of your identity.
Access to a Coroners’ report or autopsy report
To obtain a copy of a coronial autopsy report, a request must be made in writing to the Coroner. Further information is available on the Coroners Court website.
To obtain a copy of a non-coronial (i.e. hospital) autopsy report, a request should be made to the deceased person’s medical practitioner or the medical records department of the relevant hospital.
Access to personal information other than test results
If you wish to access your personal health information held by other NSW Health facilities (e.g. hospital admission or discharge notes, referral letters, operation reports, radiology reports) you will need to apply to the medical records department or manager of the health facility you attended.
Access to personal information held by NSW Health Pathology other than pathology test results can be obtained by making a written application to NSW Health Pathology’s Privacy Contact Officer at PO Box 846, Newcastle NSW 2300 or by email to [email protected].
You will be required to provide proof of your identity, and may be required to pay a fee in accordance with the NSW Health – Health Records and Medical/Clinical Reports Charging Policy. We will aim to process your application within 28 days of receipt. Sometimes unavoidable situations may cause a delay.
Access to your personal information may be declined in special circumstances, such as where providing access would expose you or another person to a risk of harm.
Release of information that is not personal health information
If you wish to apply for access to government information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), please refer to our Information Guide.
The PPIP Act provides a framework for resolving complaints concerning the handling of personal and/or health information of individuals by government agencies. The NSW Health Privacy Internal Review Guidelines outline the process that is followed when a person wishes to seek a review of certain conduct of NSW Health Pathology regarding alleged breaches of either the PPIP or HRIP Acts.
A request for an internal review can be made where it is alleged that NSW Health Pathology has:
- Breached any of the Health Privacy Principles (HPP’s) that apply to the agency under the HRIP Act, or
- Breached any of the Information Protection Principles (IPP’s) that apply to the agency under the PPIP Act, or
- Breached any code or direction made under either Acts applying to the agency, or
- Disclosed information on a public register except in accordance with section 57 (PPIP Act only).
If you have a concern relating to your privacy and you believe that NSW Health Pathology has contravened an IPP or HPP, you may wish to request an internal review to be undertaken by the Privacy Contract Officer.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the privacy internal review you may lodge an application with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal who can conduct a review of how your privacy complaint was handled by NSW Health Pathology.
Privacy Management Annual Reports
All public sector agencies, including NSW Health Pathology, are required to meet annual reporting obligations regarding privacy matters. NSW Health Pathology reports are published on our Information Guide page.
Use of website and Digital Tools
NSW Health Pathology collects information from users through their interaction with our websites and technology tools. Any of our websites, apps, software, servers, social media platforms, cloud storage and devices are collectively and severally known as our Digital Tools for this Privacy Statement. This Privacy Statement applies to all the interactions NSW Health Pathology has with you and our Digital Tools.
As a user of our Digital Tools, you are entitled to expect that any information generated because of your use will be treated within the terms of the NSW Government’s privacy responsibilities and obligations. The NSW Government’s privacy practices are regulated by the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.
What information do we collect?
When you access our Digital Tools, we automatically record information about your interaction with and use of our Digital Tools. We collect different types of information depending on the nature of the interaction with you from a number of different sources including directly from you and through your use of our Digital Tools. For example, if you download and use an app, we will collect personal information to verify your identity, and allow you the opportunity to use the app service. Other examples of information we may collect include:
- The IP (Internet Protocol) address of the machine which has accessed it;
- Your top-level domain name;
- The address of your server;
- The date and time of your visit to the website or use of the app;
- The pages, patient records or information that you accessed through our Digital Tools, and the documents downloaded;
- The previous website visited; and
- The type of browser and operating system you have used.
How is the information used?
The information we collect is aggregated with similar logged information and published in reports for us to identify patterns of usage of our Digital Tools. This will assist us in improving our Digital Tools. We will also use the information to operate our business, which includes analysing our performance and meeting our legal obligations and accreditation requirements. We will not disclose or publish information that identifies individual machines, or potentially identifies sub-groupings of addresses, without consent or otherwise in accordance with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.
What exceptions are there to this rule?
We will collect, use and disclose more extensive information than stated above in the following circumstances:
- Unauthorised attempts to access files which are not published NSW Health Pathology web pages;
- Unauthorised tampering or interference with files published on the NSW Health Pathology websites or relating to our Digital Tools;
- Unauthorised attempts to index the contents of our apps or websites by other sites;
- Attempts to intercept messages of other users of our Digital Tools;
- Communications which are defamatory, abusive, vilify individuals or groups or which give rise to a suspicion that an offence is being committed; and
- Attempts to otherwise compromise the security of the web server, breach the laws of the State of NSW or Commonwealth of Australia, or interfere with the enjoyment of our Digital Tools by other users.
We reserve the right to make disclosures to relevant authorities where the use of our Digital Tools raises a suspicion that an offence is being, or has been, committed. In the event of an investigation, we will provide access to information to any law enforcement agency or regulatory agency that may exercise a warrant to access this information.
In addition, information may be used and disclosed for public health purposes and personal information may also be disclosed to third parties where required by law or otherwise lawfully authorised.
Is the information stored securely?
The information we collect is stored in an appropriately secure format and held by NSW Health Pathology for record keeping purposes. When the information is no longer required, and its retention period has expired, it will be disposed of appropriately. Strong data encryption mechanisms may also be used to protect your personal information during transmission and whilst your information is stored.
What will we do with information provided in feedback or enquiry forms?
NSW Health Pathology provides a feedback facility on its website to allow users to provide input into the future development of the site and to comment on the provision of services by NSW Health Pathology.
NSW Health Pathology collects and holds personal and health information provided via the feedback facility for the purpose of responding to and managing your feedback. The provision of personal and health information via the feedback facility is optional. Your information will not be used to add your email address or name to any mailing list.
NSW Health Pathology may share feedback that relates to an entity within the NSW public health system with the relevant entity for the purpose of responding to your feedback. A response to your feedback may be provided directly by the entity identified. NSW Health Pathology will not otherwise disclose your personal or health information without your consent, unless we are authorised or required to by law. NSW Health Pathology may publish aggregated information about feedback on its website, to the extent that it does not identify or cannot be used to identify individual users. For further information please refer to NSW Health Patient Privacy.
For further details on how NSW Health Pathology protects your privacy and personal information, contact NSW Health Pathology’s Privacy Contact Officer at PO Box 846, Newcastle NSW 2300 or [email protected].