Accessing Records via Freedom of Information

What is Freedom of Information (FOI)?

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 1992 (PDF 355KB) gives you the right to apply for access to documents held by the East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS). Your right to apply is not affected by why you want to obtain access or our belief as to what your reasons are for applying.

How do I request information?

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1992, applications must:

  • Be in writing (emailed requests are acceptable).
  • Give enough information to enable the requested documents to be identified (e.g. full patient name including previous names if applicable and date of birth, date of attendance and service unit).
  • Give an address in Australia where notices under this Act can be sent.
  • If possible, include a day-time telephone contact number.
  • Give any other information or details required under the regulations.
  • Be lodged at an office of the agency with any application fee payable under the regulations.
  • Be accompanied by a consent form, if applicable, that is dated within 12 months of the request for information.
  • For personal applications, copies of two forms of proof of identification e.g. drivers’ licence, Medicare card etc (one with a current signature).

For FOI requests for medical records, you must contact the site where you received treatment.

If you wish to apply for patient records, please click on the link below for the relevant service:

  • Royal Perth Hospital – for records held by Royal Perth Hospital or City East Community Mental Health Service
  • Bentley Health Service – for records held by Bentley Hospital, Bentley Community Mental Health Services, Midland Community Mental Health Service, Wungen Kartup Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service, Mental Health Emergency Response Line and the former Swan Adult Community Mental Health Service.
  • Armadale Health Service - for records held by Armadale Hospital or Armadale Community Mental Health Services, Kalamunda Hospital or records from the former Swan Districts Hospital.

What methods of access can I ask for?

Access to documents may be requested by way of:

  • Inspection of documents.
  • Copies of documents (including electronic documents).

How can I request information for someone else?

In addition to providing a valid application, additional consent and/or supporting documentation is required when requesting information on behalf of others, or about others.

  • If you are requesting information on behalf of someone else, you will need to provide their written permission.
  • If you are applying for information about someone who has died, you must provide your identification, and supporting documentation that clearly shows you are the closest relative to that person e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate or death certificate.
  • If you are not the closest relative, you must provide written authorisation from the closest relative permitting you to access the information.

What information can’t be released?

Some documents fall under exemptions and cannot be released, e.g. if they compromise someone else’s privacy or commercial or business affairs.

Access may be provided to an edited copy of the document if it contains information considered to be exempt.

How much does it cost?

There are no fees or charges if the application is for your own personal information.

Applications for other documents (i.e. which are non-personal in nature) will incur a $30.00 application fee to be paid when the application is lodged.

Additional charges for dealing with the request (e.g. photocopying costs, staff time etc) may apply as per the Freedom of Information Act 1992. You will be notified of these charges upon receipt of your application.

When will I get a decision?

Upon receipt of a valid application the agency has a maximum of 45 calendar days to make a decision regarding access. The notice of decision will include details such as:

  • The date when the decision was made.
  • The name and the title of the person who made the decision.
  • The reasons for claiming the document is exempt if access is refused.
  • Information on the rights of review and the procedures to be followed to exercise those rights.

What happens when access is granted?

If you are inspecting original documentation, this will be arranged by appointment.

How do I amend my personal information?

If you believe your personal information held by EMHS is inaccurate, incomplete, out-of-date or misleading, you may apply to have that information amended.

Your request must be in writing and must provide as much information and supporting information as possible to demonstrate how or why the records are considered to be inaccurate, incomplete, out-of-date or misleading. The onus to prove this lies with the applicant, not EMHS.

If your request for amendment is refused, you will be informed of the reasons for the decision and also the process to request an internal review.

Can I apply from overseas?

The Freedom of Information Act 1992 does not apply to requests received from outside Australia.

Where can I find more information?

Please contact EMHS if you require assistance regarding the Freedom of Information processes or have queries regarding the Freedom of Information Act 1992.

East Metropolitan Health Service – Corporate
GPO Box X2213, Perth WA 6847
Telephone: 9224 3492

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Last Updated: 17/01/2024