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Privacy Policy for Management of Personal Information

This document describes the privacy policy of Healing Minds Psychology 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

Any client files that are hard copies 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, and other. However, this information and other personal information collected as part of providing the psychological service will also be uploaded and stored on an online database that is only accessible by authorised employees and is password protected.

How clients’ personal information is collected

A client’s personal information is collected in a number of ways during psychological consultation with Psychologists at Healing Minds Psychology, including when the client provides information directly to the their Psychologist at Healing Minds Psychology using hardcopy forms, correspondence via email, when the client interacts directly with Healing Minds Psychology employees such as the receptionist, and when other health practitioners provide personal information to Psychologists at Healing Minds Psychology via referrals, correspondence and medical reports.

Case files will be reviewed on an annual basis so as to identify if they may be destroyed or not. This will be assessed after they have reached the ethical and legal requirements.

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, Psychologists at Healing Minds Psychology 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 Psychologists at Healing Minds Psychology to deal with the client or if Psychologists at Healing Minds Psychology are required or authorised by law to deal with identified individuals. In most cases it will not be possible for the client to be anonymous or to use a pseudonym, however if the Psychologist at Healing Minds Psychology agrees to the client being anonymous or using a pseudonym that can be discussed.

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 through individual or group sessions. 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 Healing Minds Psychology, place a client or another person at serious risk to life, health or safety; on rare occasions in assisting with the location of a missing person or
  3. The client’s prior approval has been obtained to:
    1. Provide a written report to another professional or agency, e.g. a GP or a lawyer; or
    2. Discuss the material with another person, e.g. a parent, employer or health provider; or
    3. 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 your Psychologist at Healing Minds Psychology. These requests will be responded to in writing within 30 days, and an appointment will be made if necessary for clarification purposes. Clients may be refused access to their files only if there is a serious threat to life, health or safety of an individual or the public. Where there are grounds for refusing access, the psychologist must provide in writing the reasons for the refusal and the mechanisms available to complain about the refusal. An administrative cost of $30 will be charged to clients who wish to access their information

Concerns

If clients have a concern about the management of their personal information, they may inform their Psychologist at Healing Minds Psychology. 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.

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