Purpose of Collecting and Holding Client Information
A client’s personal information is gathered and used to provide psychological services, which include assessing, diagnosing, and treating a client’s presenting issue or preparing psychological reports. The personal information is retained to document what happens during sessions and to enable the psychologist to provide a relevant and informed psychological service.
How Client Information is Collected
A client’s personal information is collected in several ways before, during or after psychological consultation with BCP. For example when the client provides information directly to BCP using hardcopy forms; correspondence via email or through BCP’s website; when the client interacts directly with their psychologist and BCP employees such as the receptionist; when other health practitioners provide personal information to BCP via referrals, correspondence and medical reports.
How Client Information is Stored
Client files are kept in electronic storage and some in secure storage facilities. They are accessible only to authorised employees. It is possible that some of the information collected by BCP will be stored in systems that utilise data hosting facilities outside of Australia. You consent to your information being disclosed to a destination outside Australia for this purpose.
Access to Client Information
Access to client file information is restricted to the client’s treating psychologist. However, certain exceptions exist. These include:
- BCP’s administration staff access to the Client Service Record, which includes less personally sensitive information, needed for administrative purposes such as dates of appointments, contact details, emergency correspondence, etc.
- Client’s details may be shared with the psychologist or BCP’s professional advisors, such as legal advisors, where necessary for the conduct of the business of the psychologist.
- Another psychologist at BCP if there is a professional need to know the information. For example, a different psychologist than the treating psychologist seeing the client for treatment temporarily while their regular psychologist is unavailable.
Client Requests to Access Information
Clients may request access to personal information about them kept on file. Our policy is that all such requests need to be made in writing by the client and will be responded to within 14 days. Access will only be provided to the client by arranging a session time to discuss the information with the psychologist responsible for the client’s file. This will be charged at our normal sessional rates and payable by the client at the time of the appointment. We do not provide copies of any file information without a court subpoena. This is because clinical records contain sensitive information relevant to the client’s treatment and may be harmful if read without a psychologist present to explain the information appropriately. Access to personal information is subject to exceptions in the relevant legislation. In certain circumstances, requests to access personal information may be declined in accordance with privacy laws (for example, where giving access would put a client or another person at risk of harm).
Disclosure of Client Information
BCP will not disclose their client’s personal information except when:
- A court subpoenas it, or
- Failure to disclose the information would in the reasonable belief of BCP place a client or another person at serious risk to life, health or safety; or
- The client’s prior approval was obtained to:
- Provide a written report to another professional or agency. e.g. a GP or a lawyer; or
- Discuss the material with another person, e.g. a parent, health provider or employer; or
- Disclose the information in another way; or
- Disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.
Client’s personal information will not be used, sold, rented or disclosed for any other purpose.
If clients have a concern about the management of their personal information, they may inform BCP. 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/individuals/how-do-i-make-a-privacy-complaint; or by post to: Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, GPO Box 5218, Sydney, NSW 2001.
Contact by Brisbane City Psychologists
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