When you interact with the South Canterbury DHB and it's services, your privacy and confidentiality is fully respected. The sections below outline why we collect your information and how that information will be used.

Purpose

We collect your health information so you receive quality treatment and care when you need it. 

We also collect your health information to:

  • keep you and others safe
  • plan and fund health services
  • carry out authorised research
  • train healthcare professionals
  • prepare and publish statistics
  • improve cross government services.
Confidentiality and information sharing

Your privacy and the confidentiality of your information is really important to us.

  • Your health practitioner will record relevant information from your consultation in your notes.
  • Your health information will be shared with others involved in your healthcare and with other agencies with your consent, or if authorised by law.
  • You can choose not to share your health information in certain circumstances. However, withholding this information may affect the quality of care you receive.
  • You have the right to know where your information is kept, who has access rights, and who has viewed or changed your information.
  • Your information will be kept securely to prevent unauthorised access. 
Information quality

We are required to keep your information accurate, up-to-date and relevant as is necessary for your treatment and care.

Access and changes

You have the right to access and correct your health information.

  • You have the right to see and request a copy of your health information. You don’t have to explain why you’re requesting that information, but may be required to provide proof of your identity. If you request a second copy of that information within 12 months, you may have to pay an administration fee.
  • Many GPs now offer a patient portal, which allows you to view some of your GP patient records online. Ask your GP if they’re offering a portal in their practice so you can register.
  • You can ask for health information about you to be corrected and expect staff to provide you with reasonable assistance. If your healthcare provider chooses not to change that information, you add a note to your file.
Use of your health information

Below are some examples of how your health information is used.

  • If your GP belongs to a Primary Health Organisation (PHO they may use your information for clinical and administrative purposes, including obtaining subsidised funding for you.
  • Your District Health Board (DHB) uses your information to provide treatment and care and to improve the quality of its services.
  • The Ministry of Health uses your demographic information to assign an NHI number to you on the National Health Index. This will help identify you when you use health services.
  • The Ministry of Health holds health information to measure how well health services are delivered and to plan and fund future health services. Auditors may occasionally conduct financial audits of your health practitioner. The auditors may review your records and may contact you to check that you received those services. 
  • A clinical audit may be conducted by a qualified health practitioner to review the quality of services provided to you. They may also view health records if the audit involves checking on health matters.
  • When you choose to enrol in a health programme (eg immunisation or bowel screening), relevant information may be shared with other health agencies.
Research

Your health information may be used in research approved by an ethics committee or when it has been anonymised.

  • Research which may directly or indirectly identify you, can only be published if the researcher has previously obtained your consent and the study has received ethics approval.   
  • Under the law, you won’t be required to give consent on the use of your health information if it’s for unpublished research or statistical purposes, or if it’s published in a way that doesn’t identify you.
Complaints

It’s OK to complain if you’re not happy with the way your health information is collected or used – this helps ensure information is secure and trusted. 

Talk to your healthcare provider or freephone the Office of the Privacy Commissioner on 0800 803 909.

For further information

Visit www.legislation.govt.nz to access the Health Act 1956, Official Information Act 1982 and Privacy Act 1993. The Health Information Privacy Code 1994 is available at www.privacy.org.nz. A copy of the Health and Disability Committee’s Standard Operating procedures can be found at http://ethics.health.govt.nz/operating-procedures