During your care, your doctor gives information to you and you can request information from them as you need it.
What is Freedom of Information?
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 1982 (Vic) gives you the right to access your medical records held by Melbourne Health. It also allows you to request for your records to be amended.
Melbourne Health must provide you access to the records you request, unless they are fall within one of the ‘exemption’ categories in the FOI Act. If Melbourne Health denies you access to any documents, it will explain the reasons and advise you of your review rights.
Melbourne Health includes The Royal Melbourne (City and Royal Park Campus) and North Western Mental Health.
Please refer to the Freedom of Information Part II Statement which outlines the functions, processes, and types of documents held by Melbourne Health that are publicly available or available for access under the FOI Act.
What is in your medical record?
Your medical record includes health information collected during your inpatient, outpatient and/or emergency attendances. The information is used to assist in your ongoing care and treatment. The information includes details of current and past illnesses or injuries, operations performed, pathology results and medications taken and prescribed.
How do I apply?
Applications must be in writing to the Melbourne Health FOI service and can requested by:
- using the FOI application form
- submitting your request in writing by letter
The request must clearly describe which documents you wish to access. Applications must be accompanied by the application fee (listed below) and proof of identify (e.g. photo identification).
You may only obtain another person’s records if you have their written authority to do so. This may be written consent from the individual or other legal documents that support your request.
If the patient is deceased, the senior next of kin must provide written authorisation and provide evidence to demonstrate that they are the senior next of kin.
The cost involved will vary according to each request. In some instances the application fee may be waived if evidence of financial hardship, Health Care Card or Pension Card can be provided.
These fees are effective from 1 July 2019.
Amount and notes
|Application fee||$29.60 (Non refundable)|
|Search see (if applicable)||$22.20 per hour or part thereof|
|Supervision charges||$5 per quarter-hour or part thereof|
|Photocopy charges||$0.20 per photocopied page|
|Postage charges||$11 when sent via registered mail|
|Electronic copy (CD or DVD)||$0.20 per page|
|Electronic radiology images (CD)||$20 per CD or DVD|
|Photographs||$10 per A4 page|
If you are the holder of a current Health Care/pension card, the application fee will be waved.
In this circumstance, please send a copy of the entitlement card for the reduced fee.
|Appeal to Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal||Nil|
How long does it take?
Once a valid application is received, Melbourne Health has 30 days to inform you of a decision about your request. There may be circumstances where we need to consult with you to extend the 30 day period.
All outstanding charges relating to your request will need to be paid before the records are sent to you.
Accessing medical records for continuing care
Your doctor or specialist can request information directly form the Health information Services department if it is required for ongoing care. Please refer to the Requesting Patient information section on the GP liaison page for details and the request eForm.