Getting copies of your health records and information from NSW Government hospitals - Questions and Answers
Q: How do I get copies of my health records and information from NSW Government hospitals?
A: Despite that fact that there is a special Act of Parliament making it the law for you to get these, in our experience NSW Government hospitals either see themselves above this law or are too disorganised to be able to provide them.
On 28 Feb 2016, we wrote to Ms Jillian Skinner, the NSW Minister for Health asking:-
On 23 Mar 2016 we got a reply which included this:-
You can view the correspondence in full by using this link, and you can view the page to which we were referred by using this link.
Two things are to be noted about this correspondence which are particularly annoying.
The Jillian Skinners of this world NEVER quote the date of or provide any reference to the letters they are replying to - regarded as the height of ignorance and lack of courtesy in more professional circles. It leaves you to scratch around to try and find your copy of the letter to which they are replying - and sometimes their letters are so bad that the answer is not exactly clear!
Secondly, because they persist in sending you copies of letters, goodness knows why, the links in what they send you never work. In this case we had to painstakingly type into Google "," without a mistake rather than simply clicking on a link.
And then, the daddy of them all, which would be screamingly funny if it wasn't so serious - at the bottom of the page that comes up when you type in the link correctly, is this, "Page Updated: Monday 15 April 2013."
Oh dear, Ms Skinner! You'll have to stop including in your pages when they were updated - it makes you and your people look incompetent. This is of course on the assumption that you and your people are never going to get around to updating important pages like this more often than three years or more.
(It would be interesting to know how long it would take to bring this page completely up to date. It wouldn't be hard. Our guess is that it would take one person no more than 2 or 3 days. And you would think it would make it a lot easier for a lot of people.)
The upshot of this is that for all the Government hospitals in NSW, and goodness knows how many there are, only 6 email addresses are listed! Perhaps that's all their are!??
But the real issue is that you could "apply directly to the relevant Local Health District or Specialty Health Network concerned" by email, fax of snail mail, whatever means was available to you, and your letter wouldn't even be acknowledged. The Government hospitals are breaking the law, and nobody cares!!!
We are basing this on the fact that, two or three years ago, one of our readers wrote to us saying that they'd applied to a doctor who'd treated their father in the Ryde Government hospital for copies of the relevant health records and information, and he'd told them that he didn't have any, (which we think was a lie,) - they were all held by the hospital. And we and they wrote to the hospital a number of times and what was written wasn't even acknowledged. So we wrote to Ms Skinner about this, and some months later we got an email back telling us what the hospital should have been doing - nothing about what we could do if they weren't doing it, and nothing about what Ms Skinner or anyone else might do about it if they didn't do it!
What a shambles!
If any of our readers have anything to add to this, we'd love to hear from them as it could assist both us and other readers.
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Created: 2 Apr 2016