Can I get access to my medical records?
If your medical records are held by a private sector organisation, such as a doctor in private practice or by a private hospital, as a general rule, you have a right to gain access to all the information held about you. You may exercise this right in a number of ways, depending on, for example, the sort of information you have asked for, the type of organisation and the way the organisation holds its records. Getting access may include looking over the records, or taking a copy of those records with you, or having them explained to you. In some cases you may need to reach an arrangement about access with the organisation holding the records. Where the information in your records is incorrect, you can ask the organisation to take reasonable steps to correct that information.
There are some limitations on your right of access. These may apply, for example, to information held before 21 December 2001. Access to your medical records can be refused in a number of situations, which are set out in National Privacy Principle 6 (NPP 6). These situations include where giving access would pose a serious threat to the life and health of anyone, or where refusing access is required by law. For a full discussion of your right to get access to, and to correct, your medical records and of NPP 6 generally, see the Guidelines on Privacy in the Private Health Sector.
If your medical records are held by a Commonwealth agency, generally you can have access to those records. For more information, see Plain English Guidelines to Information Privacy Principles 4 -7.