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Access to public health records and information: so, who wants to know?

  • FOI
  • Health information
  • transparency

Victorian Public Health Sector FOI forum aims to promote best practice access to health records and information

Achieving best practice in access to health records and information is essential to the successful development of public policy and the delivery of government services. Government agencies can build public trust and confidence in government by upholding and promoting the public’s right to access information.

The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) is hosting our first Victorian Public Health Sector FOI Forum to promote transparency and access to public health records and information.

This virtual forum will address key and common operational, policy and legal issues in the processing and handling of requests for information, including under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), with a view to promoting best practice in access to information by public heath sector agencies. The Forum will be held on Wednesday 28 April 2021.

“The public is using the FOI process to access a substantial amount of health sector documents and information” said Information Commissioner, Sven Bluemmel.

“However, the information access system is not just about the freedom of information process. There are various access mechanisms that serve an important purpose: in facilitating access to government information, they promote openness, accountability, and transparency in government”. The Victorian Public Health Sector FOI Forum aims to encourage greater transparency.

Dr Norman Swan, Journalist, Physician, and Host of The Health Report ABC Radio National, highlighted the importance of making information available to the public for better understanding in public health decision making.

“Increasing the level of transparency will boost public confidence in their government to act in their best interest and reduce areas of confusion” said Dr Norman Swan. “An open approach in medical decision-making processes can help ease public concern and provide an understanding to why certain decisions are necessary”.

As we have adjusted to the new COVID normal, the pandemic has reinforced the importance of public trust through transparency and best practice in access to public health records. Government agencies are custodians of information and have a responsibility to ensure the public’s right to access information is upheld.

This virtual event will feature a keynote address from the Information Commissioner, along with a presentation from Dr Norman Swan and a panel discussion moderated by Dr Swan, with panellists Commissioner Bluemmel, Elizabeth Kennedy, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Dr Moira Paterson, Monash University, and Felicity Topp, Chief Executive, Peninsula Health. The event will also include an interactive Q&A with Dr Swan and panellists.

For media enquiries contact:

Simone Martin

t:            (03) 8684 7585 or 0466 097 816
e:  or

Background information:

Find out more information about OVIC’s Victorian Public Health Sector FOI Forum on 28 April 2021

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