Health privacy and access

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network follows strict government standards when handling patient's health information.

We regularly audit our systems to protect confidential information from unauthorised access, loss or other misuse.

NSW public health services hold health information in paper records, on local electronic medical record systems and the NSW HealtheNet.

Young people and decision making

Young people are able to make decisions about their health if medical staff think they are mature enough to fully understand their health problems and the treatment options. There is no fixed age for this, but it is usually about 14 years of age.

In most circumstances, medical staff will encourage young people to involve their parent or carer. Children aged 16 years and over have the right to ask for their information independently.

Information we collect

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network may collect a range of health information about a patient to provide appropriate treatment. This may include pathology and diagnostic test results, x-ray and other imaging, and information about medication.

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network collects health information directly from a patient wherever possible. In an emergency, we may refer to previous health records, other health care providers and a patient's My Health Record.

Information may also be collected from a parent, family member, friend, carer or other person such as an interpreter to provide appropriate health care.

When you browse this website, we automatically record the following information:

  • the IP (Internet Protocol) address of the machine which has accessed it
  • your top-level domain name (for example .com, .gov, .edu, .au, .uk etc.)
  • the address of your server
  • the date and time of your visit to the site
  • the pages accessed and documents downloaded
  • the previous site visited
  • the type of browser, device and operating system you have used.

Only sessional cookies are used from this website to collect information. This means once you finish using the website no information is kept.

Information use

The information we collect during each visit is aggregated with similar logged information and published in reports in order for the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network to identify patterns of usage of the site. This helps us to improve the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website and the services we offer.

We do not disclose or publish information that identifies individual machines, or potentially identifies sub-groupings of addresses, without consent or otherwise in accordance with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1988.

Exceptions to this rule

Sydney Children's Hospitals Network will collect, use and disclose more extensive information than stated above in the following circumstances:

  • unauthorised attempts to access files which are not published Sydney Children's Hospitals Network pages;
  • unauthorised tampering or interference with files published on the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network site;
  • unauthorised attempts to index the contents of the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network site by other sites;
  • attempts to intercept messages of other users of the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network site;
  • communications which are defamatory, abusive, vilify individuals or groups or which give rise to a suspicion that an offence is being committed; and
  • attempts to otherwise compromise the security of the web server, breach the laws of the State of New South Wales or Commonwealth of Australia or interfere with the enjoyment of the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network site by other users.

Sydney Children's Hospitals Network reserves the right to make disclosures to relevant authorities where the use of the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network site raises a suspicion that an offence is being, or has been, committed. In the event of an investigation, Sydney Children's Hospitals Network will provide access to data to any law enforcement agency that may exercise a warrant to inspect our logs.

Information storage

Information collected is stored in Australia in an appropriately secure format as required by law and held for archival purposes. 

When the information is no longer required for the purposes for which it was collected it is deleted.

When we share your child's health informaiton

We share your child’s personal health information

  • with other health services or medical specialists as part of your child's care
  • if required for legal purposes
  • when there is a duty to report on a specific disease or illness. 

A patient's health information may be used by the NSW public health service, or disclosed outside the health service, to enable appropriate care and treatment. 

For example, health information may be used or disclosed to:

  • Other health services
  • A patient's nominated GP
  • The Ambulance Service of NSW
  • Students or other staff for training purposes 
  • Purposes relating to organ or tissue donation
  • Activities including funding, planning, safety and quality improvement
  • Investigate a complaint or incident.

The law also allows or requires health information to be disclosed to other third parties, including State and Commonwealth government agencies, researchers for public interest research projects, and to other health services or law enforcement agencies if required.

Use of feedback information

We provide electronic feedback forms for the Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, and The Children's Hospital at Westmead to allow you to comment on our services.

Users may provide personal details for the purpose of receiving a reply to their feedback. This information will only be used for the purpose for which it was provided. We will not add your email address or name to any mailing list. Sydney Children's Hospitals Network may publish aggregated information about feedback on the website, but it will not identify, or be able to be used to identify individual users.

Disposal and destruction of information

When personal information no longer required, we destroy or delete it in a secure manner, according to regulations outlined by Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (AFDA). 

In using our website, you are entitled to expect that any information as a result of that use will be treated within the terms of the New South Wales government's privacy responsibilities and obligations.

My Health Record

My Health Record is Australia’s national digital health record system. All Australians have a My Health Record, unless you choose not to have one.

When a patient attends a NSW public health service, their health information summary will be sent to My Health Record. NSW public health staff may also view and send information to My Health Record.

If a patient does not wish for information from a particular appointment to be included in My Health Record, they should inform the clinician at the beginning of the visit. 

HealtheNet

HealtheNet is a secure state-wide electronic record used by the NSW public health service.HealtheNet contains a summary of the patient's health information, for example, discharge summaries, pathology and diagnostic test results and medication information.

This summary information will be available to clinical staff at any public health service in NSW via HealtheNet.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

A patient's NDIS Plan or other NDIS documents, may be used or disclosed for purposes related to a patient's healthcare and social services.

This may include sharing information with other government agencies, private sector or non-government organisations to help health and non-health services meet the patient's needs. 

Private pathology results

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network can access pathology and diagnostic results related to a patient's care held by The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Pathology. 

This may include results requested from Children’s Hospital at Westmead Pathology by other public and private health care providers. This ensures the best provision of healthcare for patients. 

Respecting the privacy of other families

It is important to respect the privacy of other families at the hospitals and to provide care for your child only. 

If another child needs help, please call a member of the nursing staff.

You may wish to take photographs, video footage or write about your child’s hospital journey.

We ask that you are mindful of the privacy of others and do not include staff, patients and other families in your footage without their consent.

Staff may ask you to stop taking photographs or video footage of your child if it impacts on their work, privacy, or the privacy of others.

Anyone who wishes to take photographs or video footage at the hospital for publication in the media must first seek permission from the hospital’s Public Relations department on (02) 9382 1983 at Randwick or (02) 7825 3364 at Westmead. 

Last updated Wednesday 19th June 2024