vic_logo
education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Privacy and Information Sharing

Health care information

Health care information describes the health and wellbeing needs or conditions of an individual. It needs higher protections than other personal information because inappropriate use and disclosure may cause greater harm or discrimination to individuals. Examples of records that may contain health care information are:

  • Individualised Education Plans (also called Individual Learning Plans), educational needs assessments, and behavioural support plans which include health care information provided by Student Support Services (SSS) or allied health professionals
  • reports and assessments from health practitioners provided by parents to the school
  • student support planning forms, which include student health and wellbeing support plans, child abuse concerns, asthma or allergy care plans, individual anaphylaxis management plans, and SSS referrals
  • Program for Students with Disabilities applications

Responsibilities for providing and collecting health care information

Parents/carers

  • must ensure the school has relevant health care information about their child
  • may choose to limit the release of information about chronically ill or critically injured students, who are not currently attending school

Schools

Collecting health information
  • exercise sensitivity to the family’s needs
  • if parents/carers or adult/independent students wish to limit the release of information, the school must inform them:
    • of the school’s need to be aware of the student health conditions and first aid requirements so that plans for support can be put in place
    • how their personal and health information is protected
  • may request relevant information from, or share relevant information with all authorised services under the Child Information Sharing Scheme or the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme   
  • subject to consent from the parent/carer (unless the disclosure is required or authorised by law), assist by providing observations (not interpretations) of the student’s behaviour, which can then be used to assist the student’s medical/health practitioner in monitoring and planning their health care.
Using and disclosing health information

Health information must be collected and managed appropriately in accordance with relevant laws and Departmental policy. For example, use and/or disclosure of health information should be limited to:

  • where it is necessary to carry out school functions
  • where it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a person or the public’s health, safety or welfare
  • where a parent/carer or mature minor consents to the disclosure
  • when sharing information outside the Department is required or authorised by law, such as to:
    • meet duty of care, anti-discrimination, occupational health and safety obligations and/or 
    • promote the wellbeing or safety of children, or to assess or manage family violence risk - refer to Child and Family Violence information Sharing Schemes for further information.

Health professionals

  • must disclose student personal and health information when needed to ensure a student’s health, safety or wellbeing
  • must not divulge a student’s personal or health information unless:
    • parent/carer consent is provided or
    • they are legally obliged to or authorised to do so (for example, under privacy legislation, the Child Information Sharing Scheme or the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme).

Note: If schools are seeking to share health information and are unsure if it is permitted, contact the Department's Privacy Team for advice by phoning 03 8688 7967 or email: privacy@education.vic.gov.au.

Guidance chapter explaining the meaning of health information and outlining parent, school and health professional responsibilities for providing and collecting health care information

Reviewed 20 April 2021

Was this page helpful?