There’s a special NSW Act of Parliament dealing with the obligation of doctors to keep records on their dealings with patients and to make copies of these available to their patients – the Health Records & Information Privacy Act. In addition there are at least another 16 pages on health records in this NSW Health Policy Directive. But all the indications are that if doctors completely ignore this Act of Parliament and this Policy Directive, not a damn thing happens!!! We have the absurd situation that perhaps the majority of NSW doctors treat these things as a joke! A law where nothing happens if you break it, is hardly a law is it. Yet this causes not a scrap of embarrassment to the NSW government – Ms Jillian Skinner, the Health Minister in particular, and Mike Baird, the Premier, for instance.
Some years ago, one of our readers was complaining bitterly about how her father was treated by a particular doctor in the Ryde government hospital. This lead to us approaching the doctor about getting copies of the relevant health records – he said he didn’t have any, they were with the hospital. (We would have thought that the doctor would have still had to have his own health records – but perhaps we’re wrong, perhaps one of our readers could enlighten us on this.) So we started writing to the hospital, and got absolutely nowhere! So we wrote to Jillian Skinner – and all that happened was that months later, we got an email telling us that Ryde hospital had an obligation to provide the relevant health records. (One of the most ignorant letters we’ve ever received!) We felt like writing back and saying, “We knew that!” – but with Jillian Skinner, it would have been a waste of time and effort. There was no indication that Jillian Skinner, or, in fact, anyone was going to make any body at Ryde hospital do anything. The whole thing was pure Jillian Skinner.
Just to bring you completely up to date.
On 9 Mar 2015, we sent an email to a dermatologist, Dr Saxon Smith, asking:-
And we’ve sent him a couple of further emails in the 8 days since since asking if he got our first email – and we’ve got no response, and we don’t expect we’ll ever get one. And Dr Saxon Smith is the President of the NSW Branch of the Australian Medical Association!!!
Dr Smith is the same bloke who responded to allegations about the degree of sexual harassment that was going on amongst doctors in Australia with – there are “clear guidelines that sexual harassment was not tolerated.”
“Clear guidelines.” Whoopee! Just as there are clear guidelines about health records, eh, Dr Smith.
It’s a wonder he can keep a straight face. It’s a wonder we can keep a straight face. All the indications are that this is just another area where clear guidelines are ignored, and nothing is done about it.
As a further indication as to what is going on with health records in NSW, the Urologist, Dr Andrew Brooks, was asked the same question as Dr Smith is being asked, and he’s been asked TWELVE TIMES if he’s got the email – no response yet.
Most of the times, in the NSW health system,there are no clear guidelines, but even if there are, nobody takes any notice of them.