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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Access to private sector health records already available

The complexity and fragmentation of Australia's privacy laws is well known, and the Australian Law Reform Commission Discussion Paper on Review of Australian Privacy Law (in three volumes running to almost 2000 pages) has all the gory details.

It's not surprising that confusion reigns on many issues. In WA for example "Private hospital records remain private" it appears to be the view that there is no existing right for an individual to access records about treatment at private hospitals or from other private health service providers.

In fact these rights are already contained in the Federal Privacy Act and apply throughout the country. There isn't a need for state privacy legislation to facilitate access to these records. The Law Reform Commission Discussion Paper says that the passage of health laws in NSW, Victoria and the ACT is part of the problem of overlap and uncertainty about the current state of the law.

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