Requests for copies of medical records and other information:
Victoria's Freedom of Information (FOI) laws give every person the right to request access to any document held by the Victorian Government and other Victorian public agencies, including Benalla Health, and request the amendment of their personal records held by the government or those agencies.
Benalla Health is also required to comply with the requirements of various pieces of legislation including (but not limited to) the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic); Information Privacy Act 2000; Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), Privacy Act 2000 and takes its responsibility in relation to patient records and other confidential information very seriously.
Under the various laws, a person's request for access to documents must be granted, unless a specific exemption or exception applies; and a person's request for amendment of their personal records may lead to a notation being added to those records.
Not all documents are automatically available. The Freedom of Information Act allows Benalla Health to refuse access to certain documents or information. These documents or information are often called 'exempt' documents. In some cases you may be refused access to an entire document. Alternatively, you may be given access to a document with exempt information deleted.
Here is a list of some documents that you may not be able to access:
- Cabinet documents
- Some internal working documents
- Law enforcement documents
- Documents covered by legal professional privilege, such as legal advice
- Documents containing personal information about other people
- Documents containing information provided to Benalla Health in confidence
- Documents containing information provided to Benalla Health by a business
- Documents which are covered by secrecy provisions in other legislation
In addition, Benalla Health can deny access to medical records if it is believed that letting a patient see their records would pose a serious threat to their life, health or safety - or pose a threat to the life, health or safety of another person (such as a relative, Benalla Health staff or other patients).
This list should not deter you from asking for access as each FOI request and document is assessed on its merits before a decision is made. Fees may be imposed, depending on the type of information required.
To make an FOI request, download the application form.
For more detailed guidance and information in relation to the Freedom of Information Act click here.
For additional information relating to accessing and/or correcting Health Records from a Public Hospital, click here to go to the Health Complaints Commissioner website.