Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

BreastScreen Victoria (we, us, our) is committed to protecting your privacy.

This privacy policy (this Policy) explains how we will collect, use, disclose, store and protect your personal information. This Policy also describes how you may access or correct your personal information held by us, and how to make any complaints in relation to your privacy.

We will handle your personal information according to the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic), Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and other relevant legislation relating to confidentiality and privacy.

What is ‘personal information’?

This Policy applies to our handling of personal information. ‘Personal information’ means information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable, whether the information is true or not and whether the information is recorded in a material form or not.

‘Sensitive information’ is a type of personal information. Sensitive information includes health information and information about a person’s genetics or biometrics (that is not health information), race or ethnic origin, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation or practices.

‘Health information’ is a type of both personal information and sensitive information. It includes information or an opinion about a person's health, a person's wishes about the future provision of health services, or a health service provided to a person.

Why do we collect your personal information?

We collect your personal information so that we can provide services to you, or where this is otherwise necessary for our functions or activities.  In particular, we may collect your personal information for the purposes of:

  • providing breast cancer screening and assessment services
  • funding, planning, monitoring and improving our program
  • conducting training and research

You are not required to disclose your personal information to us.  However, if you do not provide the information requested, we may not be able to provide you with appropriate services, or provide you with relevant information regarding our services.

What types of personal information do we collect?

We collect the following information to assess your eligibility for breast cancer screening and to re-invite you at a suitable interval:

  • name, address and contact details
  • demographics (for example date of birth and country of birth)
  • health information relating to screening and assessment services
  • family history of cancer and symptoms of breast cancer
  • special needs and any subsequent care and treatment that you have received outside the program that may relate to our services

We may collect personal information from individuals who are not clients of BreastScreen Victoria, such as employees, contractors and service providers, to enable us to work, transact, or manage our relationship with them.

How do we collect your personal information?

We will generally collect personal information from you directly when you provide your details to us. This might be via a registration form, face to face discussion, or telephone conversation.

New information is added to your record every time you attend or contact BreastScreen Victoria.

When you first contact BreastScreen Victoria, we ask you to complete and sign the Registration and Consent form. This asks you for personal and health information and to consent to BreastScreen Victoria obtaining your previous breast images and related files from other health service providers for comparison purposes.

With your consent we will obtain information about the care and treatment you have received from other health services in relation to breast screening.

We may occasionally need to collect personal information about you from other third parties where this is permitted by the law.  The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) has made available the full name, date of birth, and current address of Victorian women aged 50-74 so we can invite them to attend the BreastScreen Victoria program. The VEC has made this information available under section 34 of the Electoral Act 2002 because of the significant public interest in this public health program, which will benefit Victorian women. BreastScreen Victoria has given an undertaking that the information will only be used to invite women for screening and will not be given to any third party. Severe penalties apply for any misuse of your information.

We may also collect your personal or health information from other sources such as the Victorian Cancer Registry and other cancer screening or health organisations, where you have provided consent or this is otherwise in accordance with the law.

When we collect your personal information, we will as soon as is practicable take reasonable steps to notify you of the details of the collection (including notifying you through this Policy), such as the purposes for which the information was collected, the organisations (if any) to which the information will be disclosed, and also notify you that this Policy contains details on how you may access or correct your information, or raise any complaints. 

How do we use your personal information and who do we disclose it to?

If you are a client of BreastScreen Victoria, we generally only use or disclose your personal information for the following purposes:

  • To provide you with the necessary care during your screening and assessment episode, including sharing your information with doctors and other health professionals involved in your screening and assessment.
  • To send you an invitation for your next breast screen or to provide you with information about BreastScreen Victoria or to promote the program.
  • Providing results and images to your doctor, if you nominate one, and to other health services if you choose to receive treatment with them, or if we have referred you to them. Your information will be shared to enable your ongoing care and support. If you tell us you do not wish for your personal information to be disclosed to a particular health professional or organisation, we will not do so without your consent.
  • Where we are required by law to report health information or cases of cancer, for example reporting to the Victorian Cancer Registry or the Department of Health as required under the Improving Cancer Outcomes Act 2014 (Vic).
  • For training and education purposes including clinical meetings and technical discussions for the ongoing education of staff and health professionals involved in the program, where we take all reasonable steps to de-identify any materials used.
  • For management, planning, monitoring, improvement and evaluation of our services, where we take all reasonable steps to de-identify any materials used.
  • For research (using de-identified information) to evaluate and improve screening services and to investigate breast disease. We may share de-identified information overseas if required. All such research projects are reviewed and approved by BreastScreen Victoria’s research assessment committee, which only allows release on ethics approval.
  • For surveys to ensure you are satisfied with our service. We may employ an approved company to undertake this survey and share your contact information with them for this purpose. Taking part in surveys or receiving information about the program is voluntary. If you do not wish to receive surveys or information you will be given the option to opt out. If you do not want to participate in a survey it will not affect your ongoing participation in the program.
  • We may share your details with our insurers.
  • We may use or disclose your personal information for purposes which are directly related to the main purpose for which we collected it from you, in circumstances where you would reasonably expect us to use or disclose your information for these purposes.
  • We may also share your information for any other situation required or authorised by law.

If you are an employee, contractor or service provider, we may use or disclose your personal information to enable us to work, transact, or manage our relationship with you, provided this is in accordance with the law. 

Why do we need you to share your personal information?

By sharing your information, this helps us to plan and provide you with the best possible breast screening service. Without your previous images or history for comparison, we will not be able to provide you with the best possible service, and you may be recalled unnecessarily for further tests.

Will we disclose your personal information interstate or overseas?

We will not disclose your identifiable information interstate or overseas unless specifically requested by you. For example, you may request that we disclose your personal information to persons or organisations interstate or overseas to provide you with ongoing care and treatment.

We will otherwise comply with the requirements of the applicable privacy laws for any interstate and overseas disclosure of your personal information, including by taking all reasonable steps to ensure that the interstate or overseas recipient of the information does not breach the privacy laws applicable to us.

How do we protect the privacy of your personal information?

BreastScreen Victoria protects your privacy by taking all reasonable steps to keep your personal information protected from misuse, interference and loss, and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

This includes training our staff to respect and protect your privacy and handle your information in accordance with this Policy, and ensuring that only authorised people have access to your information. If we do identify a data breach that is likely to result in serious harm to you, we will notify you as soon as practicable.

Generally, your information must be kept for a minimum of twelve (12) years after your last contact with BreastScreen Victoria.  When your personal information is no longer required and the information has been retained for the required retention periods under law, we will take steps to securely destroy the information.

Data breaches

We comply with mandatory ‘notifiable data breach’ scheme (the NDB scheme) under the
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).  The NDB scheme applies when an ‘eligible data breach’ of personal information occurs.

An ‘eligible data breach’ occurs when:

  • there is unauthorised access to or unauthorised disclosure of personal information, or a loss of personal information, that an organisation holds.
  • this is likely to result in serious harm to one or more individuals.
  • the organisation has not been able to prevent the likely risk of serious harm with remedial action.

Where we have reasonable grounds to believe that we have experienced an eligible data which affects you, we will promptly notify you and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) about the breach in accordance with the NDB scheme.

How do we ensure the quality of personal information we hold?

We take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information we collect, use and disclose is accurate, up-to-date, complete, and relevant. This includes verifying client identification when they make contact to ensure personal information is correct.

How can you access and correct your personal information?

You have a right to seek access to, and correction of the personal information which we hold about you.

BreastScreen Victoria will provide you with access to, and correct, your information in accordance with the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) and the Privacy Act 1998 (Cth).

In certain circumstances, we may refuse to allow you access to your personal information where this is authorised by the law, such as where providing access would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of other individuals, or providing access would pose a serious threat to the life or health of any person or to public health or safety.

If you believe that the personal information, we hold about you requires correction because the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading, you may request that the information be corrected using our contact details below.

If we refuse your request for access or correction, we will provide you with reasons for the refusal in writing, and details about how you may complain about the decision.

You can request access to or correction of your records by contacting the clinic you visited or by calling the BreastScreen Victoria Coordination Unit on 13 20 50 or online.

Complaints about privacy

If you wish to make a complaint about how we have handled your personal information, please contact the clinic you visited or call the BreastScreen Victoria Coordination Unit on 13 20 50 or

If you are not satisfied with our response, or if you do not wish to raise a complaint with us directly, you may wish to contact: