Aim of this Policy
This policy outlines how Marie Stopes International manages personal information. It also describes the sorts of information we hold and why, as well as how that information is collected, held, used and disclosed. We encourage readers to check our website regularly for any updates (see 'Further information' below).
Marie Stopes International is committed to the right to privacy and the protection of personal information in accordance with new Commonwealth privacy laws.
Whose personal information do we collect?
Individuals from whom we collect personal information include:
- our clients
- health professionals
- business contacts
- employees and
Dealing with us anonymously:
Where it is lawful and practicable to do so, individuals may deal with us anonymously (e.g. when enquiring about our products and services generally).
Collecting personal information:
If an individual is acquiring or has acquired a product or service from Marie Stopes International, we will collect and hold their personal information to:
- provide the required services;
- administer and manage those services, including charging, billing and collecting debts;
- inform the individual of the ways the services provided could be improved;
- research and develop our services;
- gain an understanding of the individual's service needs so we may provide them with better service and
- maintain and develop our business systems and infrastructure, including testing and upgrading these systems.
What personal information do we collect?
The information collected may include an individual's:
- date of birth
- current and previous address (postal and email)
- telephone number
- medicare number
- health information (past and current)
- other information that we consider necessary.
How do we collect personal information?
We will, if reasonable and practicable to do so, collect personal information directly from the individual concerned. This may take place when the individual fills out documents such as an administrative form or when the individual gives us personal information in person, over the telephone or through our websites.
In certain circumstances, we will collect personal information from third parties. For example, we may need to collect personal information from:
- an individual's representatives (e.g. authorised representatives or legal advisers)
- an individual's health service provider
- an individual's treating health professional
- any other organisation identified below (see 'Disclosing personal information' below).
Collecting sensitive information:
Unless we have consent, we will not collect information that reveals an individual's racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs or affiliations, details of their health, disability, sexual orientation or criminal record.
This is subject to some exceptions including if:
- the collection is required by law or
- the information is necessary to provide a health service.
Consequences of not providing personal information:
Failing to provide Marie Stopes International with certain personal information can mean potentially, we may not be able to provide the relevant service to the individual concerned.
Disclosing personal information:
In line with modern business practices and to meet individuals' specific needs, we may disclose personal information to the organisations described below.
Where personal information is disclosed, we will seek to ensure that the information is held, used and disclosed consistently with the National Privacy Principles contained in the Act, any relevant Health Privacy Principles under state legislation (e.g. those contained in the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) or the privacy provisions contained in Part 2 of the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 (ACT)) and other applicable privacy laws and codes.
The relevant organisations include:
- outsourced service providers who manage the services we provide (e.g. mailing services, billing and debt recovery functions and marketing services
- our advisers (including our accountants, auditors and lawyers)
- government and regulatory authorities and other organisations, as required or authorised by law
- organisations involved in marketing our products and services
- organisations jointly participating in, or assisting us to manage a promotion, event, seminar or competition
- organisations involved in a transfer or sale or our assets or business
- organisations involved in managing our corporate risk and
- our related companies.
So as to provide you with the best possible care and advice, Marie Stopes International would share your personal details with certain third parties in the course of providing health care information and services to you or as may be required or permitted by law, including:
- your doctor
- specialists and consultants who may provide treatment to you
- community support providers
- your insurers, lawyers, the health department, Medicare, pathology
- in certain emergencies where there is a serious threat to life
- other purposes as consented by you.
If further treatment is considered necessary after you become a client of Marie Stopes International, then your information may also be disclosed to other members of the team providing health services to you.
Clients under the age of 16:
Marie Stopes International recognizes the sensitivity of health care provided to clients under the age of 16. Marie Stopes International uses prescribed standards in the health care industry to assess whether the young person is aware of the implications of the particular service provided.
Where Marie Stopes International is satisfied that the young person is competent to make decisions, having regard to the young person’s maturity and his or her understanding of the relevant circumstances as well as the type and sensitivity of the information to be disclosed, then Marie Stopes International will observe any decisions made by that young person concerning his or her privacy.
Trans-border data flows:
Because we operate throughout Australia and overseas, some disclosures (see 'Disclosing personal information' above) may occur outside the state or territory in which an individual is resident.
Using government identifier:
In certain circumstances we are required to collect government identifiers, such as Medicare numbers. We do not use or disclose this information other than when required or authorised by law.
Marketing our products and services:
We will seek consent to use or disclose personal information for the purposes of informing individuals about Marie Stopes International products and services that may be of interest and suit their requirements.
Storing personal information:
It is the policy of Marie Stopes International to store all individual client information for a minimum period of seven years since the last time of contact.
We store personal information in different ways, including in paper and electronic form. The security of personal information is important to us and we take reasonable steps to protect it from misuse or loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. Some of the ways we do this include:
- requiring our staff to maintain confidentiality
- implementing document storage security policies
- imposing security measures for access to our computer systems (see 'Privacy on the Internet' below)
- providing a discrete environment for confidential discussions
- only allowing access to personal information where the individual seeking access has satisfied our identification requirements and
- ensuring there is access control into our buildings.
Privacy on the Internet:
We take care to ensure that the personal information given to us on our websites is protected. Our websites have electronic security systems, including firewalls.
Also individuals may access external websites by clicking on links we have provided on our websites. These external websites are not subject to our privacy standards. Individuals need to review those websites to ascertain how the relevant organisation manages personal information.
Keeping personal information accurate and up to date:
We take all reasonable precautions to ensure that the personal information we collect, use and disclose is accurate, complete and up to date. However, the accuracy of that information largely depends on the quality of the information provided to us. We therefore suggest that individuals:
- let us know if there are any errors in their personal information; and
- keep us up to date with changes to their personal information (e.g. their name and address).
Individuals may do this by mail or email (see 'Contacting us' below).
Accessing personal information:
Individuals have a right to access their personal information, subject to some exceptions allowed by law.
Individuals can contact us to obtain a form to request access (see 'Contacting us' below).
We will try to satisfy any questions and correct any errors on our part:
If we do not satisfactorily answer an individual's concerns, they have the right to make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner on telephone number 1300 363 992 or in writing to:
Office of the Privacy Commissioner
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 1042
Individuals may ask any questions about privacy and the way we manage personal information or obtain a form requesting access to personal information by writing to our Privacy Officer at GPO Box 1635, Melbourne, Victoria 3001 or emailing us at
For further information about Marie Stopes International and how we operate, please refer to our website http://www.mariestopes.com.au
If you would like more information about privacy in general, please refer to the Privacy Commissioner's website: http://www.privacy.gov.au/
Legislation and Standards
Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth)
Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)
Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 (ACT)
Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW)