The purpose of information collected
Personal information is collected to provide adequate assessment, diagnosis and treatment of presenting problems. Disclosure of information is voluntary; however, failure to disclose relevant information may compromise your assessment and/or treatment. Only client files (not recordings) are retained in order to document the services provided.
All personal information gathered for the provision of services remains confidential, secured within the Northfields Psychology Clinic, and can only be released with your written permission, except when:
- The provisional psychologist makes a professional judgement that you or someone else may be at risk of harm.
- Provisional Psychologists are required to disclose information relating to child protection issues.
- On rare occasions, the provisional psychologist or clinic may be subpoenaed by a court of law to disclose information.
If any of the above circumstances arise the provisional psychologist would discuss the need for disclosure with you.
Storage of information
Client files and other material, including recordings, are held in secure filing cabinets, which are accessible only to authorised personnel. Only the treating provisional psychologist/s, supervisory and administrative staff of the Clinic are authorised to access client information in the performance of their duties. These duties include quality assessment of the service, investigating or managing adverse incidents, legal claims or complaints, and sharing information with other persons in the Clinic where they are involved in the ongoing provision of services. Your personal information may also be disclosed to a debt collection agency to follow up an overdue payment. Adult files are kept for 7 years from the last contact and children’s files are kept until they are 25 years, or for 7 years, since the last contact, whichever is longer.
Requests for access to and amendments of information
You may request to see information about you kept in the Clinic. All requests to access or amend information must be lodged in writing with the Clinic Director. Some information, such as scores of restricted tests, confidential information divulged by a third person or material that may prove detrimental to you or another, cannot be released. It is also permissible for information to be withheld subject to the exceptions in Section 29 of the Health Records and Privacy Act (2002). Requests to access or amend held information will be responded to within 21 working days.
If you have any concerns about the management of your personal information, please inform the Clinic Director. A copy of the National Privacy Principles and the Health Privacy Principles, which describe your rights, how information should be handled, and complaints procedures, is available at the website of the Office of the NSW Privacy Commissioner.
The Clinic operates on a fee-for-service basis.
If you need to cancel or postpone your appointment, please contact the Clinic at least 24 hours prior to your appointment time. Failure to give 24 hours’ notice of cancellation may result in a fee (half the usual fee, plus GST) being charged. It is important to note that irregular attendance for therapy is likely to compromise the effectiveness of treatment, and therapy may need to be discontinued if this occurs.
Clinic services are provided by provisionally or fully registered Psychologists undertaking specialist training under the supervision of highly experienced Clinical Psychologists on staff at the Clinic. Supervision of provisional psychologists’ work is conducted individually and in teams of provisional psychologists. To provide the best possible service, supervision and training, sessions may be audio or video recorded. All material is kept confidential within the team. Recordings are not retained as part of your health record.
Northfields Psychology Clinic is staffed by part-time provisional psychologists. As part of their training, they are also completing work placements at other clinics. Please be mindful they are not available full-time at Northfields Psychology Clinic and flexibility is required when communicating with therapists. In some instances, it may take a few days for phone or email messages to be responded to.
Northfields Psychology Clinic does not offer an emergency or crisis service. If you require immediate assistance, we recommend you call the Lifeline 24-hour service on 13 11 14 or Emergency Services on 000.
As the Clinic is a research training facility, you may be asked if you would be willing to be involved, or have material involving you, shared with others for teaching/training purposes. Should this involve your direct participation, you will be compensated for this time in a manner agreed to prior to your involvement. You cannot be involved in any teaching or training project without your written permission (which is NOT given by you signing this form). Should your permission be sought, you will be informed of the purpose, nature and requirements of the project and who will have access to the material provided. You are not required to give consent for taping, viewing or sharing information about you to any other person for any involvement in teaching projects, and teaching purposes and your (or, where relevant, your child’s) treatment will not be compromised in any way if you choose not to. Information in de-identified form, maintaining strict confidentiality, may be used in research aimed at improving our understanding of treatment of psychological or health difficulties. There may also be opportunities offered to participate in particular research projects. We will let you know about research that might be suitable for you if it arises during your assessment or treatment. If you do not wish to be approached for participation in research please let us know. Participation in these projects is entirely voluntary and not to do so will not affect the services provided to you by the Clinic in any way whatsoever.
The Clinic does not provide reports for medico-legal purposes.
Legal, ethical and professional requirements
The Clinic is bound by the legal requirements of the Psychologists Act (2001), and the Health Records and Privacy Act (2002). In addition, the Code of Conduct of the Australian Psychological Society binds the provisional psychologists and supervisors working within the Clinic.
Psychometric test scores
Many of the tests utilised in the Clinic to assess adults and children (e.g. tests of intelligence) are restricted to use by psychologists. Scores of these tests cannot be released to anyone other than a registered psychologist, as regulated by the NSW Psychologists Registration Board and the Australian Psychological Society.