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Media Release: Seeking comment on first Privacy Act determination for private sector
24 June 2002
"As I promised in February this year, my Office is working to ensure that taking family medical histories as a part of providing health care is permitted under the Privacy Act 1988" said Mr Crompton, Federal Privacy Commissioner. "To that end, I am inviting public comment on ACHA Health's application for a Public Interest Determination.
"ACHA Health raises a valid concern that the Privacy Act may restrict some aspects of the taking of family histories by health service providers. I fully appreciate the importance of family medical histories in the provision of health care, indeed I issued a temporary Public Interest Determination on this issue as soon as the private sector provisions of the Privacy Act came into effect. This ensures that, in the interim, health service providers can continue to take family histories as part of medical treatments.
"Under the Privacy Act, I can issue a Public Interest Determination. This is a major event", noted the Commissioner, "as it is an enduring way of enabling a specific act or practice that may otherwise breach the Privacy Act to take place without breaching the Act. This is the first application for a privacy public interest determination by the private sector. Only six determinations have been issued in the fourteen year life of the Privacy Act."
"I strongly encourage those with an interest in the matter to contact my Office, consider ACHA Health's application and the temporary determination, and then advise us of any implications they can see arising from the issuing of a PID as requested in the application.
Submissions and comment are required by 19 July. Depending on the submissions and comments we receive, the Office may hold a conference to explore issues raised. If required, the conference will be held in the week of 30 August 2002 in Sydney.
Relevant information is available via the Office web site at:
Hard copies can be obtained by contacting the Office:
|Phone:||Dale Berry, Administrative Officer on 02 9284 9871|