Chapter 19 – Legal Considerations in Reproductive and Sexual Health


Clinicians are responsible for maintaining patient confidentiality and may face disciplinary action or a claim for damages if that confidence is breached. All clinicians must comply with the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988; there are also state as well as relevant territory legislation relating to privacy and confidentiality. However, limits to confidentiality do apply in certain situations, for instance in a medical emergency, or if the clinician reasonably believes the patient may cause imminent and serious harm to themselves or an identifiable individual or group of persons. Where relevant and practical, it is important that clinicians ensure patients are made aware of these limits to confidentiality at the outset of any consultation.(1)

A clinical record (health care record) should be available for every patient, and documentation in this record must provide an accurate description of interactions and contact between patients and clinicians. All information in a patient’s clinical record is confidential and subject to prevailing privacy laws and policies. Clinicians should only access a clinical record and use or disclose information contained in the record with the understanding and consent of the patient.  Any use or disclosure of personal health information should be related to the health service being ... Buy now