Privacy Policy

Current as of: July 2023


This privacy policy is to provide information to you, our patient, on how your personal information (which includes your health information) is collected and used within our practice, and the circumstances in which we may share it with third parties.

Why and when your consent is necessary
When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our GPs and practice staff to access and use your personal information so they can provide you with the best possible healthcare. Only staff who need to see your personal information will have access to it. If we need to use your information for anything else, we will seek additional consent from you to do this. 

Why do we collect, use, hold and share your personal information?

Our practice will need to collect your personal information to provide healthcare services to you. Our main purpose for collecting, using, holding and sharing your personal information is to manage your health. We also use it for directly related business activities, such as financial claims and payments, practice audits and accreditation, and business processes (eg staff training).

What personal information do we collect?
The information we will collect about you includes your:
• names, date of birth, addresses, contact details
• medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors
• Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes
• healthcare identifiers
• health fund details.

Dealing with us anonymously
You have the right to deal with us anonymously or under a pseudonym unless it is impracticable for us to do so or unless we are required or authorised by law to only deal with identified individuals.

How do we collect your personal information?
Our practice may collect your personal information in several different ways.
1. When you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
2. During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information. This may include through electronic transfer of prescriptions (eTP), and My Health Record.
3. We may also collect your personal information when you visit our website, send us an email or SMS, telephone us, during telephone or video consultations, make an online appointment or communicate with us using social media. Please note that we cannot and do not accept responsibility for the security of information you send to or receive from us over the internet, or for any unauthorised access or use of that information.
4. In some circumstances personal information may also be collected from other sources. Often this is because it is not practical or reasonable to collect it from you directly. This may include information from:
• your guardian or responsible person
• other involved healthcare providers, such as specialists, allied health professionals, hospitals, community health services and pathology and diagnostic imaging services
• your health fund, Medicare, or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (as necessary).

When, why and with whom do we share your personal information?
We sometimes share your personal information:
• with third parties who work with our practice for business purposes, such as accreditation agencies or information technology providers – these third parties are required to comply with Australian Privacy Principles and this policy
• with other healthcare providers
• when it is required or authorised by law (eg court subpoenas)
• when it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a patient’s life, health or safety or public health or safety, or it is impractical to obtain the patient’s consent
• to assist in locating a missing person
• to establish, exercise or defend an equitable claim
• for the purpose of confidential dispute resolution process
• when there is a statutory requirement to share certain personal information (eg some diseases require mandatory notification)
• during the course of providing medical services, through eTP, My Health Record (eg via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary).

Only people who need to access your information will be able to do so. Other than in the course of providing medical services or as otherwise described in this policy, our practice will not share personal information with any third party without your consent.
We will not share your personal information with anyone outside Australia (unless under exceptional circumstances that are permitted by law) without your consent.
Our practice will not use your personal information for marketing any of our goods or services directly to you without your express consent. If you do consent, you may opt out of direct marketing at any time by notifying our practice in writing.

Research at Tallowwood Health
At Tallowwood Health we continually seek to improve the quality of care we are able to provide. At times this may include involvement in research activities. Before being involved in any research activity, we will ask for your consent to share any health information to a third party. If you decline to participate in research, this will not affect the care you receive at the practice.

How do we store and protect your personal information?
Your personal information may be stored at our practice in various forms, including paper records, electronic records, visual records (X-Rays and other imaging scans, videos and photos), and audio recordings.
Our practice stores all personal information securely. We mainly store personal and sensitive information in secure computer storage facilities located in Australia (and provided by a third party that has contractual obligations to us). As much as possible, we seek to collect and store the information gathered by the practice in electronic formats using protected information systems. It is still necessary, however, to have some paper-based files and other records at our practice. In so doing, we have taken numerous steps to protect your personal information from misuse, interference and loss, and unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
Additionally, we take reasonable steps to destroy or permanently de-identify personal and sensitive information when we no longer need it.
Please note that internet is not a secure method of transmitting information. We cannot and do not accept responsibility for the security of information you send to or receive from us over the internet, or for any unauthorised access or use of that information.

How can you access and correct your personal information at our practice?
You have the right to request access to, and correction of, your personal information.
At your written request, we will provide you, within a reasonable period after your request, with a copy of any personal and sensitive information that we hold about you, unless an exception under the Privacy Act 1988 applies. We may charge a fee for retrieving this information, in which case we will inform you of the fee and obtain your agreement to that fee before providing the information. We will require you to provide us with appropriate proof of identity before we provide you with a copy of the personal or sensitive information we hold. If we believe that we are not able to provide you with access to personal or sensitive information, we will give you a notice of our reasons and advise you of the complaint mechanisms that exist under the Privacy Act 1988.
Our practice will take reasonable steps to correct your personal information where the information is not accurate or up to date. From time to time, we will ask you to verify that your personal information held by our practice is correct and current. You may also request that we correct or update your information, and you should make such requests in writing to our practice manager:
The Office Manager
Kylie Barnes
Tallowwood Health
121 Johnston Street
North Tamworth, NSW 2340

How can you lodge a complaint, and how will the complaint be handled at our practice?
If you have any concerns or you have a complaint regarding any aspect of your care, please discuss the matter with your GP/doctor or with our practice manager, Bek Hooley. We hope that we will be able to address your concerns well. However, if you are not satisfied, or if your complaint cannot be resolved within the practice you may wish to contact the Health Care Complaints Commission:
Health Care Complaints Commission
Locked Mail Bag 18
Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012
(02) 9219 7444 or 1800 043 159

How can you lodge a privacy-related complaint, and how will the complaint be handled at our practice?
We take complaints and concerns regarding privacy seriously. We will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure, and we will endeavor to respond to your complaint within 30 days. You should express any privacy concerns you may have in writing to:
The Privacy Officer
Tallowwood Health
121 Johnston Street
North Tamworth, NSW 2340
(02) 6766 6166

You may also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). Generally, the OAIC will require you to give them time to respond before they will investigate. For further information visit or call the OAIC on 1300 363 992.

Policy review statement
We will review this Privacy Policy annually. The most current version will be located on our website, and is also available by contacting our Privacy Officer at the address detailed below:
The Privacy Officer
Tallowwood Health
121 Johnston Street
North Tamworth, NSW 2340
(02) 6766 6166