The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) respects the privacy of patients and their families, employees and other members of the public.

QAS follows 9 National Privacy Principles (NPPs) contained in the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) and provisions regarding contracted service providers and the transfer of personal information out of Australia. These principles represent the minimum standards for the collection, use, disclosure, security, quality, access, amendment, storage and openness of personal information held by QAS.

In addition, QAS staff are bound by a strict duty of confidentiality under the Ambulance Service Act 1991 (Qld). Confidential information means information from which a person receiving, or who has received, an ambulance service could be identified. This duty of confidentiality relates to all patients of QAS, whether living or deceased.

It's an offence for our staff to give information which could identify a person as receiving, or having received, an ambulance service to anyone, except under limited circumstances.

QAS will only collect information that is relevant and necessary for patient care and ongoing treatment.

If you do not wish QAS to collect certain information about you, you need to advise us as early as possible and we will discuss with you any consequences this may have on your health care.

We are required by law to retain the records we have created about you. QAS will take reasonable steps to ensure the information we collect is stored securely.

We also maintain strict security policies and practices with respect to who has access to personal information about you.

Appropriate procedure, policy and legislation are in place to protect your information from loss, unauthorised access and misuse.

When could we collect information about you?

If you contact QAS with a general enquiry regarding recruitment, for First Aid Bookings, registering a complaint or service compliment, your details will be recorded and stored. A record of your telephone number will also be retained.

During a Triple Zero (000) or 131 233 call, personal information will be collected, stored and used to allow us to provide the best possible ambulance service. This information will include your name, address, sex, age, medical history and the nature of the current medical condition.

Where possible, we'll collect information directly from you. In an emergency we might need to collect information from someone else who can help us, such as a family member, friend or carer. The QAS also collects personal information about patients from health practitioners in order to provide ambulance services, including medically authorised ambulance transport.

If you are attended to by QAS paramedics, information will be collected such as your name, address, sex, age, medical history, the nature of the current medical issue and treatment received. Some of this information will be collated into a patient clinical record called an electronic Ambulance Report Form (eARF). If you are transported to hospital or a health care facility, a copy of the eARF will be printed and provided to the subsequent health professional to facilitate your ongoing care.

How could we use or disclose your information?

We will only use or disclose your information for the purposes of providing pre-hospital care and ambulance transport to you, and for other purposes you might reasonably expect for your ongoing care. These could include (without limitation):

  • giving personal information to the hospital or other place of treatment that you are transported to
  • disclosing personal information to other agencies, such as the Queensland Police Service, when a multi-agency response is required
  • disclosing personal information as required or authorised by Australian Government or State laws
  • statutory reporting requirements, such as giving identifiable data relating to patient safety to the Health Ombudsman under the Health Ombudsman Act 2013 (Qld)
  • evaluating, managing, monitoring and planning ambulance services.

We will ensure that any such use or disclosure is limited to what is strictly necessary.

How do I access my personal information?

QAS supports your right to apply for access to information held about you. Access to your records may be provided through administrative access. Read more about accessing patient records.

If the application cannot be processed administratively, it will generally be referred for processing under the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld).

You also have the right to request access to your information formally under the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld).

If there is information in your record that is incorrect or which you do not agree with, you also have the right to request that it be amended.

If you want access to someone else’s information (for example, a relative), and you do not have or are unable to obtain their consent, you will need to make a Right to Information application.

Where can I get more information?

The Queensland Health Privacy Plan contains helpful information.

For further information contact:

Privacy and Right to Information Unit
Department of Health
GPO Box 48
Brisbane Queensland 4001

Phone: 07 3082 0546

Last updated: June 2024