Prepared for the Ministry of Health by John Edwards (Barrister and Solictor)
Steps taken to address concerns
- Appointed representatives of three responsible authorities (the New Zealand Medical Council, the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand and the Nursing Council of New Zealand) to the steering group of the HPI project.
- Commissioned and consulted on a Privacy Impact Assessment. Parties consulted include the Privacy Commissioner and responsible authorities.
- Obtained legal opinions (including from the Crown Law Office) on privacy aspects of the project, and made these opinions available to the Privacy Commissioner and to responsible authorities.
Much of the information required for the HPI is ‘publicly available information’ by virtue of its inclusion in public registers under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (and predecessor Acts). As such, its disclosure by responsible authorities to the Ministry for inclusion on the HPI will not breach any aspect of the Privacy Act.
In respect of information required for the HPI that is not ‘publicly available information’ (for example, information required to verify identity, such as practitioner’s date of birth), it may still be disclosed to the Ministry provided that certain protocols in respect of the collection, use and subsequent disclosure (if any) of that information are observed. The Ministry is working with responsible authorities to ensure that they comply with these legal requirements. For example, the Ministry funded legal resource to ensure that the Nursing Council met its obligations under the Privacy Act.