Data protection guidelines and legislation
Privacy Act 2020
The Privacy Act 2020 provides the general framework for promoting and protecting individual privacy.
It does so by establishing certain principles with respect to the collection, use, disclosure of and access to information relating to individuals. It applies to public and private sector agencies.
It also established the role of Privacy Commissioner to investigate complaints about interferences with individual privacy.
Health Information Privacy Code 2020
The Health Information Privacy Code 2020 is a Code of Practice issued by the Privacy Commissioner under section 32 of the Privacy Act which gives extra protection to health information because of its sensitivity.
It covers all health agencies, and protects all personal health information relating to an identifiable individual. The Ministry has a responsibility to ensure it complies with this Code in respect of all health information entrusted to it.
Health Information Governance Guidelines
The Health Information Governance Guidelines (HISO 10064:2017) gives health providers guidance on how to collect and share personal health information legally, securely, efficiently and effectively.
This helps ensure public confidence in data privacy and security is maintained and that the best possible treatment and care is delivered to all New Zealanders.
Other relevant legislation
New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000
Section 3(1)(d) describes one of the objectives as being to facilitate access to, and the dissemination of information to deliver, appropriate, effective, and timely services.
Health Act 1956
The Health Act 1956 gives health authorities the function of improving, promoting and protecting public health. It contains specific provisions in section 22 governing the disclosure of health information about identifiable individuals by and between health service providers and other agencies with statutory functions.
Health (Retention of Health Information) Regulations 1996
Cancer Registry Act 1993 and Cancer Registry Regulations 1994
The Cancer Registry Act 1993 and Cancer Registry Regulations 1994 were introduced because of the under-reporting of primary cancers in New Zealand. This limited the use of the data collection in research and in monitoring and evaluating cancer prevention and control programmes.
Since 1994, with the onus on the person in charge of each laboratory to report primary cancers, the number of pathology reports sighted and actioned by the Cancer Registry has greatly increased. As a result, the quality, completeness and credibility of the national cancer database have improved significantly.
Section 4 of the Act requires the Director-General of Health to maintain or arrange for the maintenance of a Cancer Registry. The Cancer Registry Regulations stipulate the details of the reports that need to be provided to the Director-General for this Registry.
Official Information Act 1982
The Official Information Act 1982 was established to make official information more freely available.
Its relevance is when a request for information held by the Ministry of Health is from someone who is not the subject of the information or their personal representative. This is treated as a request under Part II of the Act and is subject to the principle of availability under section 5, and should be made available unless good reason for withholding exists.