How do you access your medical records?

Do you suspect that your doctor/hospital was negligent? Do you wish to make a complaint about the care and treatment provided by your doctor/hospital? If so, you may want to obtain your medical records.

Did you know that you do not own your own medical records? Whilst you do not own them, you have a legal right to access your records under the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW).

When contacting your GP, specialist or the hospital your request must:
a) be in writing;
b) include your name and address;
c) identify the health information being requested;
d) specify how you would like to access the health information (for example, if you want a copy of it or just to look at the information at their office); and
e) if you want someone else to access the health information on your behalf you will need to put the name of the person/organisation you are authorising to access your health information.

The organisation must write to you with its decision within 45 calendar days from receiving your request. The health service provider is entitled to charge a fee for providing access to health information.

However your medical provider may decline your request on the following grounds:
a) providing access would pose a serious threat to the life/health of an individual;
b) providing access would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of other individuals;
c) the health information relates to existing/ anticipated legal proceedings and you would not be able to access this information through court processes;
d) providing access would be unlawful; or denying access is required/authorised by another law; and
e) the request is a repeated request and has been reasonably declined previously, or the information has already been provided.

By Bernard McAuley
McAuley Hawach Lawyers
11 Fennell Street, Parramatta NSW 2124
Telephone: (02) 9633 1826
Web: www.mcauleyhawach.com.au
Email: reception@mcauleyhawach.com.au
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