A regulation has been made under the Health Records and Information Privacy (HRIP) Act 2002 to allow for the disclosure of patient information to accredited chaplains working in the NSW public health system. The regulation is entitled Health Records and Information Privacy Amendment (Accredited Chaplains) Regulation 2008.
The NSW Health Information Bulletin 'Chaplaincy Services and Privacy Law' IB2008_044 provides guidance on how the regulation operates.
The regulation means that accredited chaplains will need to comply with the Health Privacy Principles (HPPs) set out in the HRIP Act in relation to the information they obtain from hospitals and hospital chaplaincy services.
Disclosure of information under the regulation is limited to accredited chaplains, that is chaplains who have been accredited by the Chief Executive of the public health organisation through PD2011_004. Where no Chaplaincy Services or Pastoral Care Department exist in a public health organisation, a process of accreditation of local clergy or religious leaders should be established through the Human Resources Department or equivalent personnel office. Accredited chaplains are responsible for the management and confidentiality of all records created for chaplaincy purposes.
This Information Sheet sets out the areas of privacy compliance which are of particular importance for chaplaincy services.