The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission (MHWC) is committed to protecting the privacy of your personal and health information.
We must comply with the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 (the Act) when dealing with your information, including the information sharing principles in the Act.
We must also comply with other laws, including the Health Records Act 2001, the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014, the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.
We will not disclose your personal or health information in a way that identifies you, unless you consent or we are authorised or required to do so by law.
This page explains:
- what ‘personal and health information’ means
- why we collect personal and health information
- when we collect personal and health information from other people or organisations
- what we do with information we collect
- anonymous enquiries and complaints
- how we store and protect personal and health information
- how you can request access to the information we keep about you, or ask us about correcting factual information we have about you.
What is personal and health information?
Personal information is recorded information that can identify a living person.
Health information is information that can identify a person that relates to the person’s physical, mental or psychological health, disability or genetic make-up. It also includes information about the health services provided, or that will be provided, to a person.
Why do we collect personal and health information?
We collect personal and health information so we can perform our functions under the Act. Our functions that require us to collect personal and health information of individuals include:
- resolving complaints about Victoria’s publicly funded mental health and wellbeing services
- conducting investigations and inquiries
- identifying, analysing and reviewing quality and safety issues and making recommendations to improve mental health and wellbeing services.
The type of information we collect depends on the function we are performing. For example, if you make a complaint to us about a mental health and wellbeing service, we will collect information so we can try to resolve your concerns. This will include your name and contact details. It may also include information about your mental health, your treatment and care and the health practitioners involved in your treatment and care.
We also collect personal information if a person tells us they would like to receive information from us or participate in an activity we have organised.
Collecting information from other people or organisations
Complaints from consumers
If you are a consumer (the person receiving the mental health and wellbeing service), with your consent, we may collect personal or health information about you from mental health and wellbeing services or other people or organisations to help you resolve your concerns.
Complaints from other people
The Act also enables us to handle complaints from a person on behalf of a consumer or in relation to a consumer, and complaints from a carer, family member or supporter of a consumer. In these circumstances we will collect information about the person making the complaint and about the consumer.
We will usually seek the consumer’s consent to collect information about them. However, we may collect information without the consent of the consumer when we are authorised by the Act to do so.
What do we do with the information we collect?
We have a legal obligation to keep personal and health information confidential and to disclose it only:
- if we need to do so to perform our functions
- with your consent
- as otherwise authorised or required by law.
We use and disclose personal and health information for the purpose it was provided. For example, if the information was provided for the purpose of making a complaint, we will use and disclose that information to respond to the complaint.
We may also use and disclose personal and health information, which is de-identified where appropriate, for other purposes as permitted by law, for example:
- to make recommendations for improving mental health and wellbeing services
- to report to the Health Secretary any significant contraventions of the Act or matter that raises a serious risk of harm to a person or the community
- to refer a matter to a relevant regulator or oversight body that poses a serious risk of harm to a person or the community
- for planning, research, funding, monitoring and evaluation purposes.
De-identified information may also be used and disclosed:
- to perform the function of monitoring and reporting on the performance, quality and safety of the mental health and wellbeing system
- to report on our activities
- for education and training activities.
Can I make an anonymous enquiry or complaint?
You can contact us to make an enquiry or a complaint without identifying yourself. However, we will need your name and contact details to handle your complaint. You can ask us to keep your identity confidential, but this may affect the way the mental health and wellbeing service can respond to the complaint.
How do we store and protect personal and health information?
We take reasonable steps to keep the personal and health information we hold accurate, complete and up-to-date. We store this information securely and use a number of standard safeguards to protect it from unauthorised access, misuse, loss, modification and disclosure. We also give each complaint we receive its own record number – we do not use or copy special numbers or other unique identifiers from other organisations.
We retain and destroy records according to the requirements of the Public Records Act 1973.
Can I access or correct the information about me held by the MHWC?
You can also contact our FOI officer if you think the personal or health information we hold about you is factually inaccurate and you want to ask us to correct it.
Questions and complaints
Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission
If you have a question about this document, or want to ask us about your personal or health information or make a complaint about how we handled this information, please contact us via:
- phone: 1800 246 054 (free call)
- email: PrivacyFOI@mhwc.vic.gov.au
- mail: Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, Level 26, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
You also have the right to take your complaint to someone else.
If your complaint concerns how we handled your health information, you can complain to the Health Complaints Commissioner.
Health Complaints Commissioner
If your complaint concerns how we handled your personal information, you can complain to the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner.
Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner