Privacy

Patient Privacy

NSW Health Pathology is committed to the protection of health privacy and personal information and has implemented measures to comply with its obligations under privacy laws.
General information regarding the privacy of patient information can be found in the Patient Privacy section of the NSW Health website.
Access to your pathology test results 
You have a legally enforceable right to access your personal information (including health information). You are also able to consent to an authorised representative or third party receiving the information you on your behalf.
You may access your pathology test results in a number of different ways, including by contacting the medical practitioner who referred you for the test, or through your individual My Health Record. Alternatively, you can apply for access to results of pathology tests conducted by NSW Health Pathology by providing a completed Patient Declaration and Consent Form and proof of identity (e.g. current Australian driver’s licence or passport or two other forms of identification that include signature and current address details):
  • By mail or in person at the NSW Health Pathology laboratory where the test was conducted
  • By mail to:
The Privacy Contact Officer
NSW Health Pathology
PO Box 846
NEWCASTLE NSW 2300 or
You can also apply over the telephone by calling the NSW Health Pathology laboratory that conducted the test and providing proof of your identity. 
Access to a Coroners’ report or autopsy report
To obtain a copy of a coronial autopsy report, a request must be made in writing to the Coroner. Further information is available on the Coroners Court website here
To obtain a copy of a non-coronial (i.e. hospital) autopsy report, a request should be made to the deceased’s medical practitioner or the medical records department of the relevant hospital.
Access to personal information other than test results
If you wish to access your personal health information held by other NSW Health facilities (e.g. hospital admission or discharge notes, referral letters, operation reports, radiology reports) you will need to apply to the medical records department or manager of the health facility you attended. 
Access to personal information held by NSW Health Pathology other than pathology test results can be obtained by making a written application to NSW Health Pathology’s Privacy Contact Officer at PO Box 846, Newcastle NSW 2300 or NSWPATH-Privacy@health.nsw.gov.au. You will be required to provide proof of your identity or authorisation, and may be required to pay a fee in accordance with the NSW Health - Health Records and Medical/Clinical Reports Charging Policy. We will aim to process your application within 28 days of receipt. Sometimes unavoidable situations may cause a delay.
Access to your personal information may be declined in special circumstances, such as where providing access would expose you or another person to a risk of harm.
Release of information that is not personal health information
If you wish to apply for access to government information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, please refer to our Right to Information webpage.
Queries and Complaints 
If you have a query or complaint relating to your privacy, please contact NSW Health Pathology’s Privacy Contact Officer at PO Box 846, Newcastle NSW 2300 or NSWPATH-Privacy@health.nsw.gov.au. All privacy-related complaints received by NSW Health Pathology will be treated seriously.
If you remain aggrieved about how your personal health information has been handled, you may wish to request that an internal review be carried out. Depending on the complexity of the complaint, an internal review can take up to 60 days to conduct. Following the conduct of the review you will be informed in writing of the result. 
If you are dissatisfied with the result of the review (or it is not decided within 60 days) you have 28 days to apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) who will further investigate your complaint.
For further information on how to apply for an internal review refer to the Information and Privacy Commission NSW (IPC) website
Privacy Management Annual Reports
All public-sector agencies (including NSW Health Pathology) are required to meet annual reporting obligations regarding privacy matters. The reports of NSW Health Pathology are published on our website and can be found in our Information Guide.
Use of website and Digital Tools
NSW Health Pathology collects information from users through their interaction with our websites and technology tools. Any of our websites, apps, software, servers, social media platforms, cloud storage and devices are collectively and severally known as our Digital Tools for this Privacy Statement. This Privacy Statement applies to all the interactions NSW Health Pathology has with you and our Digital Tools.
A number of our Digital Tools contain links to external websites to provide content relevant to your use. When you open a link to an external website, you will leave our Digital Tool. This privacy statement does not cover the privacy practices, the use of cookies and tracking technologies or the content of these externally linked websites. Therefore, you should refer to the specific privacy policies which may be displayed on each external website.
As a user of our Digital Tools, you are entitled to expect that any information generated because of your use will be treated within the terms of the NSW Government’s privacy responsibilities and obligations. The NSW Government’s privacy practices are regulated by the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.
What information do we collect?
When you access our Digital Tools, we automatically record information about your interaction with and use of our Digital Tools. We collect different types of information depending on the nature of the interaction with you from a number of different sources including directly from you and through your use of our Digital Tools. For example, if you download and use an app, we will collect personal information to verify your identity, and allow you the opportunity to use the app service. Other examples of information we may collect include:
  • The IP (Internet Protocol) address of the machine which has accessed it;
  • Your top-level domain name;
  • The address of your server;
  • The date and time of your visit to the website or use of the app;
  • The pages, patient records or information that you accessed through our Digital Tools, and the documents downloaded;
  • The previous website visited; and
  • The type of browser and operating system you have used.
How is the information used?
The information we collect is aggregated with similar logged information and published in reports for us to identify patterns of usage of our Digital Tools. This will assist us in improving our Digital Tools. We will also use the information to operate our business, which includes analysing our performance and meeting our legal obligations and accreditation requirements. We will 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 1998.
What exceptions are there to this rule?
We will collect, use and disclose more extensive information than stated above in the following circumstances:
  • Unauthorised attempts to access files which are not published NSW Health Pathology web pages;
  • Unauthorised tampering or interference with files published on the NSW Health Pathology websites or relating to our Digital Tools;
  • Unauthorised attempts to index the contents of our apps or websites by other sites;
  • Attempts to intercept messages of other users of our Digital Tools;
  • 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 NSW or Commonwealth of Australia, or interfere with the enjoyment of our Digital Tools by other users.
We reserve the right to make disclosures to relevant authorities where the use of our Digital Tools raises a suspicion that an offence is being, or has been, committed. In the event of an investigation, we will provide access to information to any law enforcement agency or regulatory agency that may exercise a warrant to access this information.
In addition, information may be used and disclosed for public health purposes and personal information may also be disclosed to third parties where required by law or otherwise lawfully authorised.
Is the information stored securely?
The information we collect is stored in an appropriately secure format and held by NSW Health Pathology for record keeping purposes. When the information is no longer required, and its retention period has expired, it will be disposed of appropriately. Strong data encryption mechanisms may also be used to protect your personal information during transmission and whilst your information is stored.

More information 

For further details about how NSW Health Pathology ensures the protection of health privacy and personal information, contact NSW Health Pathology’s Privacy Contact Officer at PO Box 846, Newcastle NSW 2300 or NSWPATH-Privacy@health.nsw.gov.au.