Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (FOI Act) provides a statutory right to the public to access documents held by Western Health, unless an exception or exemption applies. This includes access to medical records by or on behalf of patients.
How to make an FOI application to Western Health
A valid request under the FOI Act must include the following:
an application in writing;
payment of the application fee of $30.60 (GST exempt); and
be sufficiently clear to identify the documents sought.
You can download a copy of FOI Application Form 2023
Western Health has a duty to assist applicants to make a compliant request and will consult with an applicant before refusing a non-compliant request.
The application fee may be waived or reduced on request by an applicant, for example, on the basis of financial hardship. The FOI Team may request evidence of hardship to be provided, such as a health care card or concession card.
Additional charges apply which relate to search and copy fees, which can also be waived or reduced in relevant circumstances.
A decision regarding access to documents held by Western Health under the FOI Act (Decision) is made no later than 30 days following receipt of a valid request.
Please contact the FOI Team with your FOI queries on email [email protected]. Alternatively, you may call the team on 03 8345 6352 between 11am and 12pm, Tuesdays to Thursdays. To prioritise request processing we are not able to answer phone calls outside these limited times.
Medical records at Western Health include information from Footscray Hospital, Sunshine Hospital (including Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s), Williamstown Hospital, Sunbury Day Hospital and Hazeldean Transition Care in Williamstown.
From 1 July 2021 Western Health amalgamated with the former Djerriwarrh Health Service. If an FOI request relates to records from Bacchus Marsh Hospital, Melton Hospital, Melton Health and Community Services, Bacchus Marsh Community Health Centre, Caroline Springs Community Health Centre or Grant Lodge Residential Aged Care please contact [email protected].
Other Health Services Based at Western Health Hospitals
Western Health works in partnership with a number of organisations to provide mental health services onsite at Footscray Hospital and Sunshine Hospital. If an FOI request solely relates to a service provided by one of the mental health services listed, please contact the relevant service directly.
Adult Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit (AMHRU)
Emergency Mental Health – Sunshine Hospital
Mercy Mental Health Program
Orygen Specialist Program (previously named Orygen Youth Health)
Sunshine Adult Acute Psychiatric Unit (SAAPU)
Sunshine Aged Persons Mental Health Unit (APMHU)
Decision review rights
Applicants have a right to challenge a Decision of an FOI Officer and a right of complaint to the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) within 28 days of the day an applicant receives notification of the Decision. https://ovic.vic.gov.au/
Applicants also have a right to apply to the Health Services Commissioner for conciliation where the documents requested contain health information relating to the applicant. https://hcc.vic.gov.au/
Legal Process Serving and Third Party Agency Information Requests
The following requests and service of documents should be directed to [email protected].
Writs, subpoenas, summons, and other legal process document service and requests from courts and tribunals
We accept electronic service of documents. Where fees are payable (for example, subpoenas) please provide a copy of the payment confirmation evidencing payment of the applicable fee made to the following bank account:Bank Details: NAB Name: Western Health Operating Account BSB: 083 170 Account: 123660703Reference: UR [Patient UR Number] Account 57051
We accept electronic service of documents.
Where fees are payable (for example, subpoenas) please provide a copy of the payment confirmation evidencing payment of the applicable fee made to the following bank account:
Bank Details: NAB
Name: Western Health Operating Account
BSB: 083 170
Reference: UR [Patient UR Number] Account 57051
Law enforcement agencies, professional regulatory bodies, government department and agency requests.
Information Production Notices authorised under non-FOI legislation.
HCC and OVIC (Information Privacy)
Preparation of medical reports (where the medical record has already been accessed through the FOI process).
For any other queries or requests, including requests for discharge summaries, please submit your request via the online form on the Contact Us page.