Permission process frustrates mother

Christine Mills has been left frustrated after being denied access to her son’s X-rays on privacy grounds. Picture: TARA GOONAN

Christine Mills has been left frustrated after being denied access to her son’s X-rays on privacy grounds. Picture: TARA GOONAN

A GLENROY mother has been left frustrated by bureaucracy after being unable to access her son’s X-rays after he suffered a sport injury.

Justin Mills, 16, was injured during a late-night hockey match last week and was taken to The Doctors at Lavington the following day after a lengthy hospital wait.

His mother, Christine, said she was concerned by the swelling and feared a broken bone.

She called the clinic to access the results, but was told her son needed to give written permission for her to do so.

“They said they needed his authorisation to give out the results,” Ms Mills said.

“I still don’t know if his wrist is broken because I haven’t taken him back to get authorisation.

“I’m a shift worker and he’s a full-time student, so when am I supposed to take him?”

Ms Mills said she was annoyed she could not access the X-rays despite her concerns and argued the age requiring permission from a patient should be raised to 18.

“I’m just over it,” she said.

“It was very frustrating.”

But practice manager at The Doctors at Lavington, Jodie Dennis, said the rules helped protect individuals’ privacy.

“Any child aged 14 years and over is entitled to their privacy,” she said.

“Most children are happy to give their parents access.

“With all the privacy and confidentiality issues in the law, we try to follow best practice standards to make sure we don’t give out information to inappropriate or unauthorised parties.”

The clinic follows standards set by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

The Health Insurance Commission changed its privacy policy in 2003 to require people aged 14 and over to give consent for parents to access Medicare records.

Ms Dennis said the rules also applied to married couples.

“It pertains to husbands and wives, who need release forms if the other calls up to find out what time an appointment is,” she said.

“If someone’s going to collect a prescription for someone else, we need authority to say they’re going to do that.”

She said there was usually no issue over the process.

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