Sydney Counselling Centre Privacy Policy

Protection of your privacy and personal information

Sydney Counselling Centre takes the protection of your privacy very seriously. This Privacy Policy sets out how we deal with your personal information. Sydney Counselling Centre, (including its divisions and services) is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). It also has obligations under other laws, regulations and industry codes including the Employment and Related Services Code of Practice, Employment Services Industry Code of Conduct and NSW Psychologists Registration Board’s Code of Conduct as applicable. By using the Sydney Counselling Centre website, or by providing any personal information to Sydney Counselling Centre, you consent to the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information as set out in this Privacy Policy.

What personal information does Sydney Counselling Centre collect?

In order for us to supply services and benefits to you, we need to collect certain personal information about you. This personal information may include your name, address, telephone number, date of birth, email address and other contact details, bank account, credit card details and occupation. Sydney Counselling Centre may need to collect sensitive information from you such as your medical history and referring Doctor Information in accordance with the APP. From time to time, you may provide us, and we may collect from you, personal information of a third party. Where you provide the personal information of a third party, it is your responsibility to ensure that these persons are aware of this Privacy Policy, understand it, and agree to accept it. You do not have to provide us with any personal information, however, if you do not do so, we may not be able to provide you with the services or benefits you have requested.

How Sydney Counselling Centre collects personal information

We collect your information in the following ways:

  • during conversations with you, over the phone and/or face to face

  • through your use of our website

  • from your referring doctor or any other persons/entities that have referred you

  • when you complete our forms and paperwork

We will collect personal and health information directly from you wherever reasonably practicable. However, sometimes we may obtain health information about you from your referring doctor, or any other persons/entities that have referred you. Sometimes we may obtain health information about you from your partner or family member when it is not practicable to obtain it from you. If this ever happens we will always confirm that information with you as soon as possible.

Collection of non-identifiable information

We may also collect some information that is not personal information because it does not identify you. For example, we may collect anonymous answers to surveys or aggregated information about how our website is used. In some cases we may also collect your personal information through the use of cookies or your IP address. When you access our website, we may send you a ‘cookie’ (which is a small summary file containing a unique ID number) and record your IP address. This enables us to recognise your device (ie computer, tablet or smartphone) each time you visit our website. It also enables us to keep track of what you view so that we may display information which might be more relevant to your situation. We also use this information to observe traffic patterns, to determine which areas of our website have been visited and to measure traffic patterns in the aggregate. We use this to research our users’ habits so that we can improve our services. If you do not wish to receive cookies, you can set your browser so that your computer does not accept them.

Why Sydney Counselling Centre collects, uses and discloses personal information

Sydney Counselling Centre will use the personal information it collects for the purpose disclosed at the time of collection, or otherwise as set out in this Privacy Policy. Sydney Counselling Centre will not use your personal information for any other purpose without first seeking your consent, or where authorised or required by law. Sydney Counselling Centre collects uses and discloses personal information about you in order to supply our services or benefits to you, or for related purposes, for example:

  • billing for your use of our services;

  • administering your use of our services or benefits;

  • doing anything we are required to do by law or on the direction of a relevant authority, including to assist in connection with legal proceedings, crime or fraud protection, detection and prosecution;

  • informing you about problems with our services or benefits;

  • informing you about ways our services or benefits, or your use of our services or benefits, can be improved;

  • reviewing and improving our services or benefits;

  • providing you with marketing and promotional material, including by direct marketing providing you with information about other services, including services provided by our commercial associates (unless you tell us that you opt-out of the use of your personal information for these purposes, as detailed below);

  • complying with our obligations as a provider for DEEWR

  • protecting the safety of you or any member of the public, for example, to avoid an imminent threat to a person’s life.

We may also disclose your personal information to third parties who work with us in our business including, without limitation, any of our commercial associates, suppliers and business partners, agents, consultants, professional advisers to help provide, promote or improve the services or benefits we provide, or where authorised or required to do so by law. Sydney Counselling Centre may also disclose personal information in circumstances where it is authorised or required to do so by law, and in circumstances where we consider it is appropriate to do so in order to ensure laws are complied with, for example, to reduce the occurrence of fraud.

What is ‘health information’?

Sydney Counselling Centre is a provider of health services. ‘Health information’ is a highly sensitive type of personal information and is subject to further protection as it contains more private and comprehensive details about an individual. Health information is personal information or an opinion about: a person’s physical or mental health or disability a person’s express wishes about the future provision of health services for themselves a health service provided, or to be provided to a person ‘Health information’ includes your personal information. Once you are a client of Sydney Counselling Centre (or if we have collected health information about you), we also treat your personal information as ‘health information’.

What ‘health information’ do we collect and hold?

Health information that we collect may include:

  • your medical history

  • your family’s medical history

  • you and your partner’s ethnicity

  • your relationship status and history

  • any additional information obtained throughout the course of your treatment

If you become a client of Sydney Counselling Centre your health information will be held in your client records. This is comprised of both hard copy and electronic records and will be established at the point of initial contact.

For what purposes do we collect, hold, and use your personal and health information?

Your personal and health information is collected and used to ensure you can be informed about the services that we provide, that you receive the best possible care if you become a client of Sydney Counselling Centre, and for us to manage the health services we provide to you effectively. It will also be used to:

  • send communications (including results) to you and your referring/treating doctors

  • provide information and advice

  • conduct business processing functions

  • update our records and keep your contact details up to date

  • respond to any complaint made by you

  • comply with any law, rule, regulation, lawful and binding determination, decision or direction of a regulator, or in co-operation with any governmental authority.

It will also be used internally for the administrative, marketing, planning, product or service development, quality control and research purposes of Sydney Counselling Centre.

What happens if we can’t collect your personal or health information?

If any of the personal or health information you provide is not accurate or complete, or you choose not to provide us with your personal information, it may detrimentally affect the services that we provide or we may be unable to provide you with our services at all.

Keeping records accurate and secure

Sydney Counselling Centre will take all reasonable steps to ensure your information is protected from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. We will hold your health information across both electronic and hard copy form and information is destroyed or de-identified when no longer needed and when the legislative period relevant to medical records has expired. We have an internal policy with respect to how confidential information will be treated in-house to protect your privacy from accidental disclosure. They include the following directives that:

  • only employees who have a need to view your file will do so

  • documents containing personal information are not left on desks or workstations where they may be visible to unauthorised persons

  • client lists and medical records are covered when travelling in lifts and corridors

  • client information is not discussed in public areas where it may be overheard

  • computer screens are all turned away from the public and have screen savers to reduce the chance of casual observation

Sydney Counselling Centre has in place the following IT protection:

  • our merchant facility is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant and security is provided by the participating financial institution

  • we take appropriate steps to ensure the operation and effectiveness of our Information Technology (IT) security measures in order that they remain responsive to changing threats and other issues that may impact the security of your personal or health information.

  • As our website and email is linked to the internet, and the internet and email transmitted over it is inherently insecure, we cannot provide assurance regarding the security of transmission of information you communicate to us on-line or via email. We also cannot guarantee that the information you supply will not be intercepted while being transmitted. Accordingly, any information which you transmit to us online or via email is transmitted at your own risk.

To whom may we disclose your information?

We may disclose your personal and health information to our employees, contractors and service providers for the purposes of us providing the health service to you and managing our business. We may also disclose your personal and health information to healthcare professionals directly involved in your treatment. However, if you are hospitalised as a result of your treatment and your records are needed urgently, they will be forwarded to the relevant medical professional without waiting for written consent.

Health information may also be provided to third parties if we are legally obliged to do so by a court subpoena, statutory authority, search warrant, coronial summons or to defend a legal action. If information is requested by a third party connected to you it must be accompanied by an original written authorisation from you to release that information.

There may be instances where mailing houses, couriers, payment processors, data entry services providers, electronic network administrators and debt collectors are be provided with some of your personal details. They will never have access to your treatment information.

Your personal and health information will never be disclosed other than as described in this policy.

How can you access and correct your personal information?

You may request access to any information we hold about you at any time. Where we hold information about you that you are entitled to access, we will provide you with suitable means of accessing it. We will not charge you for making the request. In circumstances where you request a copy there may be a minimum fee of $25.00 to cover our administrative costs.

There may be instances where we cannot grant you access to some of the information we hold. For example, we may need to refuse access if granting access would interfere with the privacy of others. If that is the case, we will provide you with a written explanation of those reasons.

If you believe that the information we hold about you is incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate, then you may request us to amend it. We will consider if the information requires amendment and amend it if we conclude that it requires amendment. If we do not agree that there are grounds for amendment then we will add a note to the information stating that you disagree with it.

Communications

We may contact you directly or send you communications and information about our services that we consider may be of interest to you. These communications may be sent in various forms, including mail, phone and email, in accordance with applicable marketing laws. If you indicate a preference for a method of communication, we will use that method of communication. In addition, at any time you may opt-out of receiving communications from us by contacting us (see the details below) or by using opt-out facilities provided in the communication and we will the ensure that your name is removed from our mailing list. We will not provide your personal information to other organisations for the purposes of such communications.

Do we disclose your personal information to anyone outside Australia?

No personal or health information is disclosed to parties outside Australia except in circumstances where you request and consent to its release.

How to contact us or make a Privacy Complaint

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, if you wish to update information we hold about you or if you wish to make a complaint about our collection, use or disclosure of your personal information under this Privacy Policy, please contact:

Privacy Officer

PO Box 5260

CHATSWOOD NSW 1515

Changes to our privacy policy

We may change this policy from time to time. Any updated versions of this privacy policy will be posted on our website.