Western Psychological Services (WPS) is committed to providing quality services to you and this policy outlines our ongoing obligations to you in respect of how we manage your Personal Information.
We have adopted the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act). The APPs govern the way in which we collect, use, disclose, store, secure and dispose of your Personal Information.
WPS collects and retains its clients’ personal information. This information helps us provide optimal care. This information is appropriately managed in accordance with the law and ethical guidelines of the profession.
The psychological service provided at WPS is bound by the legal requirements of the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988, the Australian Privacy Principles 2014 https://www.oaic.gov.au/ and the Australian Psychological Society – Code of Ethics (2007).
What is Personal Information and why do we collect it?
Personal Information is information or an opinion that identifies an individual. Examples of personal Information we collect includes names, addresses, email addresses, phone and facsimile numbers.
This Personal Information is obtained in many ways including interviews, intake forms and other correspondence, by telephone and facsimile, by email and via our website. Client records are stored in a secure Australian cloud-based practice management system and/or a secure filing cabinet (paper files), which are accessible only to authorised employees www.wpsychology.com in accordance with the Australian Psychological Society (APS) Code of Ethics (2007).
We collect your Personal Information for the primary purpose of providing our services to you. You may unsubscribe from our mailing/marketing lists at any time by contacting us in writing.
The type of information we may hold on your file includes your contact details, Medicare number, referral letters, session notes, assessment results, reports, correspondence and other personal information collected as part of providing the psychology service. Some information we hold is stored on secure data hosting facilities outside of Australia. We do not collect or retain credit card details. Reception staff have access to your client record and paper files, but not to your psychologist’s electronic session notes. Your psychologist is responsible for maintaining the privacy of their session notes.
Sensitive information is defined in the Privacy Act to include information or opinion about such things as an individual's racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, membership of a political association, religious or philosophical beliefs, membership of a trade union or other professional body, criminal record or health information.
Sensitive information will be used by us only:
• For the primary purpose for which it was obtained
• For a secondary purpose that is directly related to the primary purpose
• With your consent; or where required or authorised by law.
Where reasonable and practicable to do so, we will collect your Personal Information only from you. However, in some circumstances we may be provided with information by third parties. In such a case we will take reasonable steps to ensure that you are made aware of the information provided to us by the third party.
Disclosure of Personal Information
Your Personal Information may be disclosed in a few circumstances including the following:
To “lessen or prevent a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any individual, or to public health or safetyor on a rare occasion to assist in the location of a missing person”. This threat does not need to be imminent.
It is subpoenaed by a court; or
Third parties where you consent to the use or disclosure; and
Where required or authorised by law.
Your prior approval has been obtained to: (1) provide a letter or report to another professional or agency (e.g. GP or lawyer); or (2) discuss or share the information with another person (e.g. parent, carer or employer);
You would reasonably expect your personal information to be disclosed to another health practitioner or professional, and disclosure of your personal information to that third party is for a purpose directly related to the primary purpose for which your personal information was collected (i.e. your psychology service); or
From time to time, your psychologist may consult with their professional supervisor or another registered health practitioner about your case for the purpose of supervision and guidance to enhance their service to you.
Your personal information will not be used, sold, rented or disclosed for any other purpose.
Security of Personal Information
Your Personal Information is stored in a manner that reasonably protects it from misuse and loss and from unauthorized access, modification or disclosure.
When your Personal Information is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was obtained, we will take reasonable steps to destroy or permanently de-identify your Personal Information. However, most of the Personal Information is or will be stored in client files which will be kept by us for a minimum of 7 years if you are an adult, and until at least the age of 25 years for young people.
Access to your Personal Information
You may access the Personal Information we hold about you and to update and/or correct it, subject to certain exceptions. If you wish to access your Personal Information, please contact us in writing.
WPS will not charge any fee for your access request but may charge an administrative fee for providing a copy of your Personal Information.
In order to protect your Personal Information we may require identification from you before releasing the requested information.
Clients have a right to access their personal information held by WPS. Such requests need to be put in writing for security and recording purposes and to assist in finding the information for you.
WPS may refuse the request for such information, or limit the information so provided, where it is legally entitled to do so. We will endeavour to provide reasons for refusal. For example, release of information may be denied or limited where such release may have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others or is considered frivolous or vexatious.
We are unable to release your file after your psychologist has departed WPS, this becomes the responsibility of the treating Psychologist except in exceptional circumstances.
Maintaining the Quality of your Personal Information
It is important to us that your Personal Information is up to date. We will take reasonable steps to make sure that your Personal Information is accurate, complete and up-to-date. If you find that the information we have is not up to date or is inaccurate, please advise us as soon as practicable so we can update our records.
This Policy may change from time to time and is available on our website.
Data breach plan
We follow the national requirements. See here:
Clients have a right to make a complaint about the handing of their personal information.
Complaints can be made to WPS by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will endeavour to respond appropriately to reasonable complaints within 30 days of the receipt of the email.
Ultimately, if you wish to make a complaint about the use of, disclosure of, or access to your personal information, you may do so with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by phone on 1300 363 992 or online at http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/making-a-privacy-complaint or by post to: office of the Australian Information Commissioner, GPO Box 5218, SYDNEY NSW 2001.
Other agencies to which clients may bring complaints are as follows: