Health care extends beyond the provision of medical services to the living. It also encompasses, but is not limited to, what can be done with your body after death; who has access to your confidential medical Information and what rights you have to call health care professionals to account for their conduct. This chapter explains some of your rights as a patient, regardless of the type of health care service you’re using, and the obligations of the professional providing that service.

Access to medical records

Under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), people who have been treated in public hospitals in Victoria can gain access to their health records.

Individuals treated in private hospitals, by private doctors or other private health professionals, have the right to gain access to their health records under the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) (‘HR Act’), and under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (‘Privacy Act’). For more information, see ‘Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)’ in ‘Other Victorian privacy legislation‘.

A person may complain to the Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner if a private hospital, health professional, or any private sector organisation holding health information, refuses to provide a person with access to their own records.

Note that access may be refused in some circumstances under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), the HR Act and the Privacy Act.

Back to
Health, wills and other legal issues affecting older people