Last updated 5 December 2016

Public health services in Queensland

Access to documents held by public health services in Queensland can be obtained by individuals under either the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) (Information Privacy Act) or the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (Right to Information Act). In addition to the right to information provided under legislation, Queensland Health has in place an administrative access policy through which a person can make a written request to access their own health records. Using this method of access does not affect a person’s rights under the Information Privacy Act or Right to Information Act. Where administrative access to health documents is not possible or a person chooses not to use that process, a request for access to records can be made under either Act.

Requesting access to documents under the Information Privacy Act is generally free of charge, and the relevant health service is required to inform the person about this. Access charges may apply for services such as photocopying.

A request for access to personal information may be refused if the disclosure of the information (s 51 Right to Information Act and s 64 Information Privacy Act):

  • might be prejudicial to the physical or mental health or wellbeing of the applicant
  • would be against the public interest.

There is a process set out in National Privacy Principles 7 (NPPs) of the Information Privacy Act in relation to amending documents containing personal information held by a health agency.

For further information on right to information and correction of information see the Right to Information and Freedom of Information chapter.

Private health services

Medical records held by private health services are accessible under the Australian Privacy Principles (AAPs).

Under APP 12.1, a person has the right to access personal information held by a private sector health provider such as a general practitioner. However, access to the information may be refused on a number of grounds (see APP 12.3).

Charges for access may be imposed in some circumstances but these must not be excessive (APP 12.8). These is also a process set out in APP 13 for a person to make a request to correct personal information held about them.

For more information on the NPPs and the APPs see the Right to Information and Freedom of Information chapter.