Your privacy & confidentiality is important to us.
The purpose of this document is to outline how the Melbourne Midwifery Collective (MMC) complies with confidentiality and privacy obligations. As a directory, MMC’s principal concern is and always will be the health of clients who visit our practice. A high level of trust and confidentiality is required to ensure the confidence of the clients we serve.
Clients will be assured that:
– their privacy will be protected when visiting one of the midwives or when the midwife is at your home,
– the information collected and retained in our records is correct and up-to-date, and
– that they can access their information for review.
MMC recognises that the information we collect is often of a highly sensitive nature and as an organisation we have adopted the highest privacy compliance standards relevant to MMC to ensure personal information is protected.
For administrative and billing purposes, and to enable the patients to be attended to by the midwives and medical practitioners at MMC, client information is shared between the midwives and other health providers in the Collective. MMC and the midwives may collect personal information regarding clients (including health information) for the purpose of providing midwifery and medical services and treatment.
Personal information collected will generally include:
– the client’s name, address, telephone number and Medicare number,
– current drugs or treatments used by the client,
– previous/current obstetric, medical history, including, where clinically relevant, a family medical history, and
– the name of any health service provider or medical specialist to whom the client is referred, copies of any letters of referrals and copies of any reports back.
MMC may access information:
– provided directly by the client,
– provided on the client’s behalf with the client’s consent,
– from a health service provider who refers the client to the midwives providing services at or from the midwives at MMC, or from health service providers to whom clients are referred.
Use or disclosure of personal information
Personal information collected by the Melbourne Midwifery Collective may be used or disclosed:
– for the purpose advised to the client at the time of collection of the information,
– as required for delivery of the health service to the client,
– as required for the ordinary operation of our services (i.e. to refer the client to a GP or Obstetrician or other health service provider),
– as required under compulsion of law, or
– where there is a serious and imminent threat to an individual’s life, health, or safety; or a serious threat to public health or public safety.
MMC may use or disclose personal information for quality assurance, training, billing, liaising with government offices regarding Medicare entitlements and payments and as may be required by the MMC’s insurers.
Accuracy of your information
MMC is committed to ensuring your information is accurate and has processes in place to ensure that the accuracy of this information is maintained. If you believe that the personal information the MMC holds about you is inaccurate, please inform the practice manager by email or phone or speak to the midwife at your next consultation.
Security of information collected
Other than as described in this Policy or permitted under privacy principles, MMC uses its reasonable endeavours to ensure that identifying health information is not disclosed to any person unnecessarily or irresponsibly.
Due to the sensitive nature of the information collected by the midwives at MMC to provide its services, extra precautions are taken to ensure the security of that information. Information may be stored electronically and / or in hard copy form. All electronically stored files are password-protected on several levels, and regular backups of data are performed.
MMC requires its employees to observe obligations of confidentiality in the course of their employment.
How long are medical records kept?
MMC keeps health information for a minimum of 7 years from the date of last entry in the client’s records. However, the baby’s record must be kept until the baby attains or would have attained 25 years of age.
Accessing your information
On request, you may have access to your maternity health record held by MMC, except in circumstances where access may be denied under the ‘Privacy Act’ or other laws. For example, access can be denied when letting a client see their records would pose a serious threat to the client’s life or health, or the life or health of someone else (such as a relative, the health service provider, staff or other patients).
The threat must be significant, for example where there is a serious risk the patient may cause self-harm or harm to another person if they saw the information. The threat can be a risk of danger to physical or mental health, but does not need to be imminent – it can be a serious threat that might occur sometime after access is granted.
Can I transfer my medical records to a new midwife or other health care provider?
Yes, clients have the right to attend a midwife or other health care provider of their choice and are free to leave a practice and attend another if they wish.
How do I arrange this?
There is a professional obligation for a midwife to provide a new treating midwife with all of the information that they need to take over a client’s care.
This is usually done by the patient completing a ‘consent for health information’ form and producing an original source of identification for the Practice manager or midwife to make a copy of.
When a client requests that their health records be transferred to a midwife or other health care provider outside the MMC, the midwife has an obligation to provide a copy or summary of the patient health record in a timely manner to facilitate care of the client.
For medico-legal reasons, our collective, retains the original record and provides the new midwife or other health care provider with a summary or a copy. If a summary of the client’s health record is provided to the new midwife or other health care provider, a copy of the summary should be kept on file for record purposes.
A client can also have a copy of his/her medical records transferred by asking the new midwife to arrange for the transfer of records from the previous treating health care practitioner. The client will still have to fill in the appropriate forms.
Can the midwife charge for the handing over of medical records?
Some health care providers may charge a fee for handling and copying their records to cover the administrative costs involved. The previous health care provider may charge a fee for providing a summary, especially if a client’s medical history is long and/or complex.
MMC’s website contains links to other sites. Please be aware that MMC is not responsible for the privacy practices of any linked sites. We encourage users who leave our site to read the privacy statements of each and every linked website that they choose to visit. All links to external sites are provided for your convenience. The information, products and advertisements contained in the linked sites are neither approved nor endorsed by MMC, and MMC is not responsible for such information, products or advertisements.
Your privacy is important to us and we want you to feel comfortable visiting our website. Any personal information that clients give to us, including e-mail addresses, will be used only in the following ways:
– personal data given to us by you will be securely stored
– we will not provide your personal data to any third party without your permission,
– we do not automatically collect your personal e-mail address simply because you visit our site
– if we join with a third party to provide services and you sign up for those services, we will share your name and other contact information necessary for our partner to provide the services to you,
– if you view specific pages or download information from specific pages on our website, we will track and add the number of your visits to the aggregate number of visits by all users in order to better design our website,
– we may share aggregate demographic information with our affiliates. This is not linked to any personal information that can identify you or any other visitor to our web site.
Obtaining further information
If clients require more information regarding MMC, its services and facilities, they can:
– ask the practice manager or one of our midwives, or
– access MMC’s website
The Practice Manager, Melbourne Midwifery Collective
3 Sharrow Road
While we make every effort to protect your privacy, we may need to disclose personal information when required by law where we have a good-faith belief that such action is necessary to comply with a current judicial proceeding, a court order or legal process served on our company or site.