Your rights, responsibilities and privacy
Our commitment to you
The Townsville HHS is committed to providing our patients with access to safe, quality health care and to treating them with respect and dignity. We believe in a person-centred approach to care, and that our patients receive the best outcomes when they and their families and carers are involved in their care.
The Townsville HHS is proud to be accredited by the Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Healthcare in the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHSS). Accreditation is an evaluation process that involves assessment of a health service’s compliance with safety and quality standards with a focus on continuous quality improvement strategies that promote safe and high-quality healthcare. You can find out more about accreditation and the national standards by visiting the NSQHS website.
Two-way dialogue between a patients and their health practitioners is an important part of decision-making. This communication establishes the benefits, risks and alternatives of treatment, and takes into account personal circumstance, beliefs and priorities. This communication should be presented in simple, non-medical terms. As a well-informed patient you can actively participate in the decision-making process of your care, and better understand the outcomes of treatment.
It is important when discussing healthcare decisions with your clinician that you share your needs, wishes and priorities, medical history, social circumstances and your level of knowledge of your condition and healthcare options. The Townsville HHS is committed to ensuring that a patient understands the process or procedure that they are consenting to, and acknowledges that a consent form alone does not constitute the entire informed decision-making process.
Queensland health have developed a host of resources for consumers, including procedure specific patient information sheets and multicultural information. Here at Townsville HHS, we follow the Queensland Health Guide to Informed Decision-making in Health Care. This guide is an in-depth handbook to informed consent practices in our health service.
For more information on consent, please discuss with your clinician.
Advance care planning involves thinking and making choices now to guide your future healthcare. It is also a process of communicating your wishes. If you have strong beliefs about what you want to happen in the future, it is particularly important to make your plans and wishes known now. You can do this by having a conversation with those close to you and writing down your preferences.
If you are coming to hospital, attending clinics or receiving aged or community services you can give your documents to your healthcare provider for uploading to our secure electronic health record; alternatively, you can send documents direct to the Office of Advance Care Planning.
The Townsville HHS fully supports the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights. The charter outlines the rights of patients and other people using the Australian health system.
- Access—You have right to heath care.
- Safety—You have a right to safe and high-quality care
- Respect—You have a right to respect, dignity and consideration
- Communication—You have a right to be informed about services, treatment, options and costs in a clear and open way
- Participation—You have a right to be included in decisions and choices about your care
- Privacy—You have a right to privacy and confidentiality of your personal information
- Comment—You have a right to comment on your care and have your concerns addressed.
To help us to provide you the best possible care please:
- Tell us about your illnesses and hospital visits, symptoms, medications, allergies and other health-related matters
- Tell us about any religious or cultural beliefs and requirements
- Treat everyone that you meet at our facilities with care and respect
- Ask questions and talk to your family before making any decisions about your health care if relevant
- Follow staff instructions regarding your treatment and care
- Be aware that your care may need to be transferred to another hospital if required
- Be on time for appointments and let your health service know if you need to cancel or reschedule, and notify us if your contact details change
- Talk to your local doctor if your condition changes while on a waiting list for treatment
- Treat all people you meet in the health service (staff, volunteers patients/clients, their families and aged care residents), with care, dignity and consideration
- Respect the confidentiality and privacy of others.
Ryan's Rule is a three-step process to support patients of any age, their families and carers, to raise concerns if a patient’s health condition is getting worse or not improving as well as expected.
Ryan’s Rule has been developed in response to the tragic death of Ryan Saunders, who died in 2007 from an undiagnosed Streptococcal infection. When Ryan’s parents were worried he was getting worse they did not feel their concerns were acted on in time. In light of his death, the Department of Health made a commitment to introduce a patient, family, carer escalation process (Ryan’s Rule), to minimise the possibility of a similar event occurring.
The Ryan’s Rule escalation process is as follows:
- Step 1: Talk to a nurse or doctor about your concerns. If you are not satisfied with the response, go to the next step.
- Step 2: Talk to the nurse in charge of the shift. If you are not satisfied with the response, go to the next step.
- Step 3: Phone 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or ask a nurse to phone for you, and request a Ryan’s Rule Clinical Review. You will need to provide the following:
- Hospital name
- Patient’s name
- Ward and bed number (if known)
- Your contact number
Once the rule is enacted, a nurse or doctor will undertake a Ryan’s Rule clinical review of the patient and the treatment they are receiving.
The Top Tips for Safe Health Care has been designed to help consumers, their families, carers and other support people get the most out of their health care. The Top Tips booklet can help guide your conversation when you talk to your doctor and other healthcare providers, including nurses, pharmacists, specialists, allied health and mental health workers.
We respect your privacy and are committed to protecting your information in accordance with the law, including:
- Information Privacy Act 2009
- Right to Information Act 2009
- Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011
Why we collect your information
We collect your information to provide you with health care services, to contact you for appointments and to follow up after treating you.
If we are unable to contact you by phone or mail we may contact the person you nominate as “next of kin” or “alternative contact.”
We try to collect information directly from you; however, in an emergency we may need to collect information from another person such as a family member or carer.
How your information is stored
Your information is stored in paper or electronic health records and may include images, x-rays, photographs, and audio or video recordings.
Strict rules are enforced to protect your information from unauthorised access, loss or other misuse, and penalties apply to staff who breach these rules.
Where your information is shared
Your information is shared with health care providers involved in your ongoing treatment and agencies involved with delivering health or support services to you.
This could include:
- General Practitioners and specialists
- Private and public hospitals
- Nursing homes
- Medicare and insurers
- Other agencies who support you e.g. Department of Veterans’ Affairs or Centrelink
If you do not want us to share your health information, you will need to tell your doctor who will discuss this with you.