A medium close up shot of a male doctor showing a smiling, female nurse some paper work.

Access your information

Freedom of Information and privacy laws allow you to access to information held by Mercy Health.

Understanding the Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives you the right to access your information held in Mercy Hospitals Victoria Limited records. Mercy Hospitals Victoria Limited includes Mercy Hospital for Women, Werribee Mercy Hospital, Mercy Mental Health Program and O’Connell Family Centre. The FOI Act also gives you the right to apply to have your personal information amended if you believe it is inaccurate, incomplete, and out of date or misleading.

The information we have about you

Your medical or client record includes health information collected during attendances as an inpatient, outpatient or community visit. The information is used to assist in your ongoing care and treatment. Such information includes details of current and past illnesses or injuries, operations performed, pathology results, care plans and medications taken or prescribed.

The types of records we keep

Your information may be stored in many ways including paper, x-rays, computer systems, film, tapes, electrocardiographs (ECGs).

Where we store your information

Recent information will be kept on site at the hospital or facility where you were treated. Information which has not been accessed for a period of time is stored securely off-site and may be retrieved when required.

How to view or obtain a copy of your record or seek amendments to your record

Applications for access or amendment must be made in writing to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Officer using either an FOI Access Request Form or by contacting the FOI officer on the details below, or by letter. Your request should clearly describe the documents you are seeking or that you are seeking to amend. Applications must be accompanied by a prescribed fee, as outlined below, and proof of identity (e.g. copy of your driver’s licence or passport).

How to obtain my Adoption Records

Access to adoption records may be obtained under the Adoption Act 1984. In Victoria, you should contact the Department of Health and Human Services. The contact details are as follows:

Family Information Network & Discovery (FIND)

Who can request information about you

Information about you will only be provided to another person if you have provided written authority for them to do so. There may be some exceptions and these are outlined below.

Accessing someone else’s records

You may obtain another person’s records if you have the written authority from them to do so.

Alternatively, you may be entitled to obtain another person’s records if you can provide evidence that you:

  • Are the authorised representative of that person; or
  • Are the senior available next of kin (as per the next of kin hierarchy outlined below) in the case of a deceased person (including deceased adults and children)

Records may also be made available in accordance with due legal processes e.g. as evidence in a legal action before a court.

Authorised representative

An authorised representative in relation to an individual includes a person who is a guardian of the individual, an administrator or the parent of an individual if the individual is a minor.

Next of Kin Hierarchy

The senior available next of kin in relation to a deceased person (other than a deceased child) is determined by the following hierarchy:

  • if the person, immediately before death, had a spouse or domestic partner, then the spouse or domestic partner;
  • if the person, immediately before death, did not have a spouse or domestic partner or if the spouse or domestic partner is not available, then a son or daughter of, or over, the age of 18 years;
  • if a spouse, domestic partner, son or daughter is not available, then a parent;
  • if a spouse, domestic partner, son, daughter or parent is not available, then a sibling who is of, or over, the age of 18 years.

The senior available next of kin in relation to a deceased child is determined by the following hierarchy:

  • a parent of the child;
  • if a parent of the child is not available, then a sibling of the child who is of, or over, the age of 18 years;
  • if a parent or sibling is not available, a person who was the guardian of the child immediately before death.

The costs involved to make an FOI request

The FOI Act requires the payment of an application fee before we can process your request.

Payment should be by cheque made payable to Mercy Hospitals Victoria Ltd or you may contact the FOI Officer on the details below for other payment options (if applicable). In addition to the application fee, other charges prescribed by government regulations may apply. A full list of these charges can be found in the Schedule to the Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations.

For your information, the standard charges set by government (as at 1 September 2017) are:

Application Fee $28.90 (2 fee units)

Access charges:

  • Photocopying (black and white) $0.20 cents per page
  • Search fees $21.30 (1.5 fee units) per hour or part of an hour

Note: The above fees may be waived for current health care/pension card holders.

The FOI Act provides that in some circumstances, we may require payment of a deposit before we process your request.

How long it takes to process your application

In most cases, we will acknowledge your application in writing as soon as we receive it. We have 30 days from receipt of your application fee, or equivalent, to inform you of the outcome of your request. If we are required to consult a third party about your application to access documents we may extend the time to notify you by 15 days (for a total of 45 days). We will notify you if the time to process your request has been extended.

Under the FOI Act we can also seek your consent to extend the time in which we must process your request to access documents by 30 days. We can seek your consent for multiple extensions.

At the time we notify you of the outcome of your request, you may also receive an invoice for any applicable charges (such as photocopying or inspection charges). These charges must be paid in full before we can provide you with the requested information.

Completing your application

Address your application to the hospital or health service at which you were treated. See below for contact details.

How to review our decision

If we deny you access to the documents you have requested, refuse a request to waive (or reduce) the application fee or refuse a request to amend personal records you can apply to the Information Commissioner for a review of the decision.

Your application for review must usually be made within 28 days from the day on which you were given notice of the decision.

You may also contact the Information Commissioner if you have a complaint about the way your FOI request has been handled.

Contact details for the Victorian Information Commissioner are as follows:

Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner

  • Phone numbers:

    Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner
    1300 006 842

  • Email address: enquiries@foicommissioner.vic.gov.au
  • Website: ovic.vic.gov.au
  • Address:
    Information Commissioner
    PO Box 24274
    Melbourne Victoria 3000

    Get directions

  • About:

    OVIC is the primary regulator and source of independent advice to the community and Victorian government about how the public sector collects, uses and shares information.

Where you have been denied access to your health information, you may alternatively apply to the Health Complaints Commissioner for conciliation of the decision. Your application for conciliation must usually be made within 28 days from the day on which you were given notice of the decision.

Contact details for the Health Complaints Commissioner are as follows:

Health Complaints Commissioner, Victoria

  • Phone numbers:

    Health Complaints Commissioner, Victoria
    1300 582 113
    Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm

  • Email address: hcc@hcc.vic.gov.au
  • Website: hcc.vic.gov.au
  • Address:
    Level 26
    570 Bourke Street
    Melbourne Victoria 3000

    Get directions

  • About:

    If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the complaints process, you may write or call the Health Complaints Commissioner.  The commissioner responds to complaints about health services and the handling of health information in Victoria. The service is free.

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is a tribunal established to deal with disputes about various issues. Part of its role is to hear appeals against decisions made in FOI cases.

You are eligible to apply to VCAT in the following circumstances:

  • Where we have taken longer than the 30 days (plus any extensions permitted under the FOI Act) in which we are required to provide you with a decision in relation to your request;
  • Where you have requested conciliation with the Health Complaints Commissioner and you are not satisfied with the outcome of the conciliation (i.e. the matter has not been conciliated);
  • Where you want to dispute the amount we have charged you for access (provided that the Information Commissioner certifies your matter is of sufficient importance for VCAT to consider); or
  • Where you want to challenge a decision of the Information Commissioner where the Information Commissioner has:
    • refused to grant access to a document;
    • deferred the provision of access to a document; or
    • not accepted or has dismissed your application for a review of our decision to deny your request to amend or access a document.

Applications to VCAT must be made within 60 days from the day on which you were given notice of the decision.

Contact details for VCAT are as follows:

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

  • Phone numbers:

    Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
    (03) 9628 9755
    Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is a tribunal established to deal with disputes about various issues. Part of its role is to hear appeals against decisions made in FOI cases.

  • Phone numbers:

    Alternative phone number
    1300 01 8228

  • Email address: admin@vcat.vic.gov.au
  • Website: www.vcat.vic.gov.au
  • Address:
    55 King Street
    Melbourne Victoria 3000

    Get directions

  • About:

    VCAT hears cases and resolves disputes through negotiation, mediation and hearings

Contacts

Applications for access or amendment of your information must be made in writing to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Officer. Address your application to the hospital or health service at which you were treated.

If your enquiry relates to other Mercy Health services, please see the complete listing for Access to information details.

Contacts to access Freedom of information (FOI)

FOI at Mercy Hospital for Women and O’Connell Family Centre

  • Phone numbers:

    FOI at Mercy Hospital for Women and O’Connell Family Centre
    03 8458 4169

  • Phone number: 03 8458 4128
  • Email address: FreedomofInformationMHW@mercy.com.au
  • Website: Access your information
  • Address:
    163 Studley Road
    Heidelberg Victoria 3084

    Get directions

  • Opening hours: Monday - Friday, 9am – 5pm
  • About:

    Applications for access or amendment must be made in writing to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Officer using either an FOI Access Request form (which is available to download or by contacting the FOI Officer) or by letter. Your request should clearly describe the documents you are seeking or that you are seeking to amend. Applications must be accompanied by a prescribed fee and proof of identity (e.g. copy of your driver’s licence or passport).

    Address your application to the hospital or health service at which you were treated.

FOI at Werribee Mercy Hospital

  • Phone numbers:

    FOI at Werribee Mercy Hospital
    03 8754 3600

  • Phone number: 03 8754 3601
  • Website: Access your information
  • Address:
    300 Princes Highway
    Werribee Victoria 3030

    Get directions

  • Opening hours: Monday - Friday, 8.30am-4.30pm
  • About:

    Applications for access or amendment must be made in writing to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Officer using either an FOI Access Request form (which is available to download or by contacting the FOI Officer) or by letter. Your request should clearly describe the documents you are seeking or that you are seeking to amend. Applications must be accompanied by a prescribed fee and proof of identity (e.g. copy of your driver’s licence or passport).

    Address your application to the hospital or health service at which you were treated.

FOI at Mercy Mental Health

  • Phone numbers:

    FOI at Mercy Mental Health
    03 9928 7444

  • Website: Access your information
  • Address:
    PO Box 2083
    FOOTSCRAY Victoria 3011

    Get directions

  • About:

    Applications for access or amendment must be made in writing to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Officer using either an FOI Access Request form (which is available to download or by contacting the FOI Officer) or by letter. Your request should clearly describe the documents you are seeking or that you are seeking to amend. Applications must be accompanied by a prescribed fee and proof of identity (e.g. copy of your driver’s licence or passport).

    Address your application to the hospital or health service at which you were treated.

Other places you can get help

Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner, Freedom of Information

  • Phone numbers:

    Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner, Freedom of Information
    1300 00 6842

  • Phone number: 03 8684 7588
  • Email address: enquiries@ovic.vic.gov.au
  • Website: foicommissioner.vic.gov.au
  • Address:
    PO Box 24274
    Melbourne Victoria 3001

    Get directions

  • About:

    The Information Commissioner is an independent officer who reports directly to Parliament through a joint parliamentary committee. The Commissioner’s functions include reviewing decisions, handling complaints, monitoring agencies’ compliance, reporting, and providing advice, education and guidance. The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to access recorded information held by government agencies. Anyone can request information.

Health Complaints Commissioner, Victoria

  • Phone numbers:

    Health Complaints Commissioner, Victoria
    1300 582 113
    Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm

  • Email address: hcc@hcc.vic.gov.au
  • Website: hcc.vic.gov.au
  • Address:
    Level 26
    570 Bourke Street
    Melbourne Victoria 3000

    Get directions

  • About:

    If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the complaints process, you may write or call the Health Complaints Commissioner.  The commissioner responds to complaints about health services and the handling of health information in Victoria. The service is free.

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

  • Phone numbers:

    Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
    1300 01 8228
    Monday to Friday, 9am – 4.30pm

  • Email address: humanrights@vcat.vic.gov.au
  • Website: vcat.vic.gov.au
  • Address:
    GPO Box 5408, Melbourne VIC 3001
    55 King Street
    Melbourne Victoria 3000

    Get directions

  • About:

    VCAT is a tribunal that hears and decides civil and administrative legal cases in the State of Victoria, Australia. VCAT is a low cost, accessible, efficient and independent tribunal delivering high quality dispute resolution processes, including through alternative dispute resolution.

Last reviewed September 26, 2017.

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