The Health Records Act 2001 provides a legally enforceable right for people to access health information held about them in Victoria. Employees also have a right to seek access under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to information about them including medical reports and referral letters held at the school and by the Department.
When providing information to a medical practitioner engaged to provide an independent medical assessment, principals/managers need to be aware of the following requirements:
A referral letter should request that the medical practitioner indicate in their report whether the information in the report could be provided to the employee without posing a serious threat to the employee's life or health.
A referral letter to a medical practitioner should carry a request that "this information is provided in confidence and is not to be made available to the person the information is about."
Telephone conversations about a referral
If a telephone call is made to a medical practitioner to discuss an appointment, the principal/manager should state, "this information is to be kept in confidence" and the medical practitioner should be asked to make a note of this request.
Request for access to medical report
An employee or a representative of the employee, such as a legal or union representative, may request access to a medical report under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or the Health Records Act 2001.
A request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 may be made to the school or the Department. Information regarding making a request under the Freedom of Information process is available at Freedom of Information.
A request made under the Health Records Act 2001 should be referred to the medical practitioner who conducted the medical assessment, who may prepare a report and charge a suitable fee for this.