Client files 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, medical history, and other personal information collected as part of providing the psychological service.
How clients’ personal information is collected
A client’s personal information is collected in a number of ways during consultation with Fleming Psychology, including when the client provides information directly to the practice using hardcopy forms, correspondence via email, when the client interacts directly with employees such as the receptionist, and when other health practitioners provide personal information to Fleming Psychology, via referrals, correspondence and medical reports.
Consequence of not providing personal information
Purpose of holding personal information
A client’s personal information is gathered and used for the purpose of providing psychological/counselling services, which may include assessing, diagnosing and/or treating a client’s presenting issues. The personal information is retained in order to document what happens during sessions, and enables the therapist to provide a relevant and informed service.
Disclosure of personal information
Clients’ personal information will not be disclosed except when:
- It is subpoenaed by a court; or
- Failure to disclose the information would in the reasonable belief of the therapist place a client or another person at serious risk to life, health or safety; or
- The client’s prior approval has been obtained to:
a) provide a written report to another professional or agency, e.g., a GP or a lawyer; or
b) discuss the material with another person, e.g. a parent, employer or health provider; or
c) 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 therapist may discuss the contents with them and/or give them a copy, subject to the exceptions in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and payment of relevant administration fees. 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 in writing to the administration at Fleming Psychology. These requests will be responded to in writing within 28 days, and an appointment will be made if necessary for clarification purposes.
If clients have a concern about the management of their personal information, they may inform Fleming 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