Privacy and Confidentiality Policy

This following document sets forth the Privacy and Confidentiality Policy for the Katherine West Health Board

Katherine West Health Board Aboriginal Corporation (KWHB) acknowledges it has responsibilities in relation to individual’s rights to privacy and will strive to uphold those rights and in particular clients’ rights to privacy and confidentiality, taking into account relevant privacy and other legislative requirements. This policy also sets out the procedures that KWHB will use to protect the rights and responsibilities for privacy and confidentiality of individuals delivering and using its services. The procedures are intended to cover what is written and what is said about individuals; the accuracy of information collected and disseminated, and the circumstances where the right to confidentiality may be overridden by other considerations.

Client Privacy Statement

KWHB will strive to uphold the rights of its clients to privacy in the way it collects, stores and uses information about them, their needs and the services that have been provided.

KWHB acknowledges that clients have legislated rights to privacy and confidentiality; to accessing and authorising access to and correcting their own records.

KWHB will act responsively to client requests for further detail and/or explanation of its procedures for upholding the fore mentioned privacy rights and to those circumstances where the right to confidentiality or privacy may be overridden by legislative considerations.

KWHB procedures will be designed to avoid personal information about a client being shared with anyone, on purpose or by omission, unless the client has given their informed consent or in special circumstances where the law requires an exception.

KWHB staff are aware of their surroundings and undertake to ensure privacy and confidentiality for our clients in all interactions.

KWHB will allocate responsibility for investigation of complaints about staff, Directors or contractors not complying with its privacy policies and procedures at an appropriate level and will give consideration to appropriate disciplinary action when non-compliance is found to have occurred.


This policy and related documents apply to KWHB Directors, employees and subcontractors. The policy is intended to supplement rather than interfere with requirements in cases where the client is a child or youth under the statutory intervention of the Child Protection Act 1999, or a service foster carer or kinship carer.

Privacy rights and confidentiality in relation to personal and/or sensitive information will apply regardless of whether the information is stored and communicated through verbal, written, visual or electronic means.

Client Privacy and Confidentiality

To provide an effective and high-quality service and to maintain appropriate accountability, KWHB must collect, store and sometimes share relevant personal information about our clients.

In order to uphold the rights of clients to privacy and confidentiality and to comply with the law and KWHB’s policy and procedures, it is important that all KWHB employees, Directors and subcontractors are consistent and careful in the way they manage what is written and said about a client and how they decide who can see or hear this information.

Collection of your personal information

In addition to information of an administrative nature, KWHB needs to collect personal information that may relate to a client’s past, current and future medical condition. This information may also include known medical history of other family or household members. Relevant medical information will be collected in accordance with Communicare requirements.

KWHB staff must ensure that information provided by individuals is collected with consent in a fair, legal and transparent way, and that individuals are informed of why personal information is collected and what it is used for. When staff visit clients, they will interview clients in a private area if a confidential and/or sensitive interview is to take place.

KWHB staff will use discretion and sensitivity in both verbal and written communications with other service providers especially when such communication is likely to be overheard by other employees, the general public or other unauthorised personnel.

Staff must obtain consent from the client to access information from another service, using the appropriate Client Consent Form.

Care should be taken that individuals cannot see computer screens showing information about other individuals.

Staff must not disclose passwords to unauthorised persons.

Record Keeping

Confidential staff and client information collected by staff will be kept in personal files that are only accessible by authorised persons.

Unsolicited personal information will not be kept unless it is considered accurate, up to date and relevant to the purpose for use.

Personal information will not be left in open areas where it can be seen by unauthorised persons or staff not directly involved in service provision to clients.

Electronic records will be handled securely. This includes locking computers when information is not being used, closing client files immediately after use, and logging off terminals when finished.

All personal files will be moved in a secure manner when it is necessary for them to be referred to away from KWHB premises.

Use of information in Records

In the normal course of service delivery, KWHB and its staff will only use the personal information collected for the purposes for which it was collected. Prior agreement of the individual will be obtained when KWHB considers that it is necessary to use information for other purposes.

KWHB may be required to use information for other purposes to comply with legislation. If this is the case, KWHB will advise the individual concerned of that legal requirement.

Disclosure of personal information

Confidential information concerning individuals will not be made available to unauthorised persons, whether they are staff, volunteers, or members of the public.

No unauthorised person will be given access to any client’s personal information unless the client has provided informed consent on the appropriate Client Consent Form, and there is a legitimate need or when compelling moral and ethical reasons exist, e.g. when duty of care principles apply.

KWHB staff may be only be required to disclose client data under the following circumstances:

  • where required to by law,
  • with the individual’s consent
  • where permitted by law.

Client access to personal records

KWHB is committed to facilitating reasonable access for individuals to review information that has been collected and held by KWHB in their personal records.

Clients can access personal records by completing a Consent for Release of Medical Records Form. All requests must be approved by the CEO.

KWHB will aim to ensure access:

  • is convenient, and
  • does not involve unreasonable delay, and
  • is, wherever practicable, without cost.

Changing confidential/personal records

KWHB does not allow individuals to change their own records. However, client records can be updated by KWHB staff, and clients may request to have a note added to their records n order that information held is accurate, up to date, complete, relevant and not misleading. When KWHB staff have concerns about particular notations, they may ask and assist the individual to put the request in a signed, written request for referral to the CEO for approval. The CEO will put any refusal for notation in writing for consideration by the individual and/or their representative.

Refusal to access confidential information

KWHB may refuse a request to access to or to amend personal information or confidential records if it conflicts with personal privacy, is in breach of privacy laws or is in conflict with other legal obligations.

The client has the right to lodge a complaint about the refusal of their request. Complaints must be put in writing, be signed by the complainant and referred to the CEO for determination. If the complaint is dismissed, the CEO will put reasons for dismissal in writing for consideration by the complainant(s) and/or their representative(s).

Breaches of Privacy and/or Confidentiality

Breaches of the Privacy Act are unlawful. Breaches of confidentiality are a serious breach of professional obligations and can involve legal action. Breaches of privacy and/or confidentiality are considered to be significant misconduct that, according to the seriousness of the breach, may involve consideration of termination of employment as appropriate disciplinary action.

Contacting us

Katherine West Health Board welcomes your comments regarding this Privacy Policy. If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy and would like further information, please contact us by any of the following means during business hours Monday to Friday.

08 8971 9300

Katherine West Health Board,
PO Box 147, Katherine NT 0851