Access to health records

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 1992 (external site) provides members of the public with a right to apply for access to documents held by Ministers, State Government Departments and Local and Statutory Authorities.

Lodging a request

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (1992), applications must:

  • be in writing (email and facsimile are acceptable)
  • give enough information to enable the requested documents to be identified (e.g. full name of patient, including any previous names if applicable, date of birth; date of attendance or services accessed)
  • give a mailing address in Australia where notices under the Act can be sent
  • be lodged at BHS with any application fee payable under the regulations
  • be accompanied by copies of two forms of proof of identification e.g. drivers’ licences, Medicare card (one must have a current signature).

Please download the Freedom of Information application form (PDF 36KB) for printing. Alternatively a printed form may be mailed to you on request by contacting the Freedom of Information Office on 9416 3827.

What method of access to the documents can I request?

Access to documents may be requested by way of:

  • inspection of documents
  • copies of documents

Requesting information on behalf of another person

If you are applying for information about another person or on behalf of another person, additional consent and/or supporting documentation is required.

If you are requesting information on behalf of another person, you will need to provide written authorisation from that person permitting access to their information. If you are applying for information of somebody that is deceased, you must provide identification that indicates that you are the closest relative to that person. This may include:

  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • death certificate

If you are not the closest relative, you must provide written authorisation from the closest living relative permitting you to access the information.

Cost

There are no fees or charges if the application is for your own personal information.  An application fee of $30 is required for non-personal applications, and this must be paid when the application is lodged. Additional charges such as photocopying cost and staff time may also be incurred, as per the Freedom of Information Act 1992.

Exemptions

Some documents fall under exemptions and cannot be released, for example if they compromise someone else’s privacy or commercial or business affairs. Some documents may be edited before release if the document contains information considered to be exempt.

Notice of decision

Upon receipt of a valid application, BHS has a maximum of 45 calendar days to make a decision regarding access. The notice of decision will include details such as:

  • the date the decision was made
  • the name and title of the person who made the decision
  • the reasons for why the document is exempt if access is refused
  • information on the rights of review and the procedures to be followed to exercise those rights.

When access is granted

When access to documents has been granted, copies of the documents will be available for collection from BHS. Alternatively, the documents can be sent via post. If you are inspecting original documentation, this will be arranged by appointment in the Freedom of Information office. You will be required to provide two forms of identification before access is provided.

Applying to amend personal information

Should you believe that personal information held by BHS is inaccurate, incomplete, and out of date or misleading, you can apply to have that information amended.

Your request must be in writing, and you must give as much information as you can to show how or why the records need to be amended. The onus to provide this evidence falls with the applicant, not BHS.

Written reasons will be provided if your amendment is refused, as well as information about how to apply for a review of the decision.

Contact us

Phone: 9416 3827
Fax: 9416 3875

Applications can be posted to:
Health Information Officer
Bentley Health Service
PO Box 158
Bentley WA 6982
 

Mental Health Act 2014

Individuals who have received contact with the mental health service have the additional right to apply for access to their health records under the MHA 2014. This right is separate to the right to apply for access under the Freedom of Information Act (1992).

Section 248 of the MHA 2014

Under section 248 (1) of the Mental Health Act 2014 (MHA 2014), a person who is or was provided with treatment or care by a mental health service is entitled to inspect and be given a copy of any relevant document relating to them. This includes the whole or part of the person’s medical record.

Exemptions

Access to documents is subject to certain exemptions which are outlined in section 249 of the Mental Health Act 2014.

Lodging a Request for Information under the MHA 2014

Application

A request to access documentation under the MHA 2014 can be made by:

  • Writing to the Health Information Officer
  • Completing the appropriate form that is available from every clinic, ward and reception area at BHS
  • Providing a clinician with your request, who will forward this to the Health Information Officer for processing.

The application form is also available for download.

Written requests and application forms can be submitted via:

Mail:
Health Information Officer
Bentley Health Service
PO Box 158
Bentley WA 6982

Email: BHS_FOI@health.wa.gov.au

Alternatively, a printed form may be mailed to you upon request, by contacting the FOI Office on 9416 3827.

Identification

Proof of identification (for example, driver’s licence or passport) is required in order to the application to be valid.

Costs

There are no costs associated with this process.