Freedom of Information

About Freedom of Information

  • The Victorian Freedom of Information Act (1982) (FOI Act) provides access to both medical and non medical documents held by The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) provided those documents are not exempt documents under the FOI Act. 

    For information about the RCH, it services, functions, the categories of documents it holds and links about how to access those documents which are not subject to the FOI process, see the RCH Part II Information Statement.

    Form downloads

    How do I apply?

    A valid application requires the following:

    Written application

    All applications must be made in writing and have enough information for us to find the correct medical record. You can fill in an application form or write a letter.

    Identification

    Photo identification that shows your signature, eg a photocopy of a driver's licence or passport MUST be sent with your application when requesting medical records.

    Application fee

    $29.60 (as at 1 July 2019).

    The application fee must accompany the written request. Payment by credit card / cheque or money order made payable to The Royal Children's Hospital in person, cashiers office RCH ground floor.

    If one of the following applies the application fee is waived:

    • Health Care Card or valid Pension Card (photocopy of both sides)
    • compassionate grounds (patient is deceased)
    • photographs only - the RCH does not charge the application fee when the request is only for photographs

    Where to send your valid application

    Post

    Freedom of Information
    The Royal Children's Hospital
    50 Flemington Road
    Parkville Victoria 3052

    Facsimile: (03) 9345 4088
    Email: foi@rch.org.au - please send attachments as PDFs
    In Person: The Family Hub, ground floor

    How much will it cost?

    The FOI Act sets out the cost for providing access to records.

    Access charges 

    Electronic Medical Records

    Disc $20 - $50 (depending on the size of the file)

    Paper records

    Photocopying fee: 20 cents per page

    Photographs

    • disc $20.00
    • prints $2.00 each

    Postage

    Registered or e-parcel post $10.00 (depending on the size of the package)

    What happens next?

    You will receive an acknowledgement letter, usually within a week of receipt of a valid request.

    A formal decision letter will be provided no later than 30 days from receipt of a valid request. This may be subject to extensions permitted under the FOI Act of which you will be notified.

    This letter will also include the access charges.

    Will I get all the records?

    Some information may be restricted according to the Exemptions outlined in the FOI Act. This may include information that relates to the personal affairs of a person other than the patient, or information obtained in confidence.

    Most FOI applications are straightforward with no restrictions to information applied.

    Do I have the right to access the information?

    Where the request is for patient medical records, the hospital must take reasonable steps to be satisfied that the applicant has the "right to access" the medical records in order to comply with the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) under which we have a legal obligation to protect the privacy of the personal information. 

    If the applicant is NOT the patient and the patient is: 

    Over 18 years of age

    It is preferable for the patient to apply for access to their own medical record. If this is not possible, written authority from the patient will be required.

    Where the patient is not able to provide authority, we require evidence that you have the “right to access” the information e.g. Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker, Enduring Power of Attorney (medical) (if signed prior to 12 March 2018) or Guardianship documents.

    16-18 years of age

    It is preferable for the patient to apply for access to their own medical record.

    In recognition of a young person’s evolving competence and right to privacy, the RCH policy is to obtain consent from the young person.

    The following are some other situations where we will require additional information:

    Name change

    If you are requesting your own records and have changed your name, include documentation showing the change of name, eg copy of marriage certificate.

    Family Court orders

    If there are current Family Court Orders in place, a copy of the order should be provided.

    Requesting records of a deceased patient

    Evidence that you are the next of kin or written authority from the next of kin.

    Authorising others to request records

    You can authorise another person (eg TAC, solicitor) to make a request on your behalf.

    If you want someone to make a request on your behalf, you must give them your written authorisation for us to release the information to them.

    Can any one else request my information or my child's information?

    Information about you or your child will only be provided to another person with your written authority.

    Medical records may also be made available to another person, in accordance with due legal process, such as when the information has been the subject of a court subpoena.  

    X-Rays / Scans (Medical Imaging)

    These can be obtained directly from the Medical Imaging Department phone 9345 6777 or visit Medical Imaging to obtain a form.

    Can you send the information to my doctor?

    Information can be sent directly to your doctor, this is done by our Health Information Services. You or your doctor can contact them on 9345 6107 or fax a request to 9345 6589.

    What if I need the information for court?

    Should you require this information urgently for Court proceedings, you should speak to your lawyer to consider issuing a subpoena for the medical record.

    Who can I contact for more information?

    If you have any questions or concerns about your application or the process, please contact:

    Freedom of Information
    The Royal Children’s Hospital
    50 Flemington Road
    Parkville Victoria 3052

    Telephone: 9345 5156 or 9345 5132
    Email: foi@rch.org.au
    Facsimile: 9345 4088