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Privacy Policy

1. Introduction
Our practice is committed to best practice in relation to the management of sensitive information we collect about you and your family. This practice has developed a policy to protect your privacy in compliance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (‘the Privacy Act’).  Our policy is to inform you of:
the kinds of information that we collect and hold is likely to be ‘health information’ for the purposes of the Privacy Act;
  • how we collect and hold personal information;
  • the purposes for which we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information;
  • how you may access your personal information and seek the correction of that information;
  • how you may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles and how we will deal with such a complaint;
2. What kinds of personal information do we collect?
The type of information we may collect and hold includes:
  • your name, address, date of birth, email and contact details;
  • relevant family information such as family history, details about your child /children if applicable;
  • notes of your presenting concerns, symptoms or diagnosis and the treatment given to you;
  • reports from medical practitioners, school counsellors, occupational and speech therapists and other health professionals;   
  • any other information about your race, sexuality or religion if applicable;
3. How do we collect and hold personal information?
We will generally collect personal information:
  • from you directly when you provide your details to us. This might be via a face to face discussion, telephone conversation, text messaging, registration form or online form;
  • if you are under 18, we may collect information from a person responsible for you
  • from third parties where the Privacy Act or other law allows it – this may include, but is not limited to:  other members of your treating team, specialists, allied health professionals and hospitals.
4.  Why do we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information?
In general, we collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information for the following purposes:
to provide the best possible health service to you; 
to communicate with you in relation to the health service being provided to you; 
to comply with legal obligations which may be enacted such as a court subpoena; 
to help us manage our administrative services;
to communicate with others involved in your healthcare such as doctors and other allied health professionals;
5. How can you access and correct your personal information?
  • You have a right to seek access to, and correction of the personal information which we hold about you.
For details on how to access and correct your health record, please contact our practice as noted below under ‘Contact Details’: 
  • We will normally respond to your request within 14 days.
  • We may may decline a request for access to information if the Privacy Act requires us to do so, or if the request does not meet with our governing body guidelines.  
  • Access to your information is likely to occur in the context of a standard 1 hour counselling session by appointment.  This would be charged at the standard fee for a one hour session.  If a Mental Health Care Plan is in place the session may be claimable under medicare.  Some clients may be able to claim the session through their health fund.
6. How do we hold your personal information? 
Case files are stored electronically.  Our staff are trained and required to respect and protect your privacy.   All care is taken to maintain the security of electronic files.  However collecting information electronially carries some risk to inadvertent disclosure of such information to 3rd parties. We take reasonable steps to protect information from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure with steps such as. 
  • ​Information and reports kept on computers require password access.  
  • Some files prior to electronic files are written files and these are stored in a locked filing cabinet for the required perioed of time of 7 years at which time they will be shredded.
  • Our staff are registered with a governing body such as the Australian Association of Social Workers or Australian Psychological Society and are ethically and legally required to uphold the confidentiality policy and procedures of their relevant association.
7.  Privacy in the waiting room
While we like to offer a comfortable waiting room atmosphere, our priority however is to protect the privacy of clients in session.  Some steps we have taken to ensure this are soundproofed walls and the use of neutral background music.  For this reason we kindly ask you not to adjust the volume under any circumstances.  If you have any concerns about the music please about this please let us know.
8.  Anonymity and pseudonyms
We believe it is impracticable to deal with patients using a pseudonym as the provision of services is likely to be impacted. 
9. Updates to this Policy
This policy will be reviewed from time to time to take account of new laws and technology, changes to our operations and other necessary developments. Updates will be publicised on the practice’s website  www.northsidetherapy.com.au
10. Website, email and text messaging
The email address info@northsidetherapy.com.au is for the purpose of making an appointment enquiry.  The form submitted via this email address provides the opportunity to compete your name, email, phone number and message to enable the enquiry to be handled by the appropriate clinician.  It is advised that no further personal information be sent to this email address.  If you are uncomfortable about sending information via this email form please contact the practice via phone.  Text messaging is purely for the purpose of making or changing an appointment.  
11. Contact details for privacy related issues
To contact us regarding privacy related issues please call our practice on 0416 847 646 or via mail at:
Privacy Officer
Northside Therapy, Centre for Relationships
Suite 4, 20 St John’s Avenue, Gordon NSW 2072
12. Privacy related questions and complaints 
If you have any questions about privacy-related issues or wish to complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles or the handling of your personal information by us, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  You may lodge your complaint in writing to (see below for details).  We will normally respond to your request within 30 days. 
If you are dissatisfied with our response, you may refer the matter to the (Office of the Australian Information Commissioner) OAIC:
PH; 1300 363 992
Email:  enquiries@oaic.gov.au
Fax: 02 9248 9666
Post:  GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001
Website: https://www.oaic.gov.au/individuals/how-do-i-make-a-privacy-complaint
Privacy Policy updated February 2023
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