1. Purpose

The Australian Pharmacy Council (the APC) is required to comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act) when dealing with your personal information. From 12 March 2014, Schedule 1 of the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 amends the Privacy Act 1988 which regulates how the APC collects, stores, uses and discloses personal information.

APC undertakes the function of accreditation of pharmacy programs and providers in accordance with the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (ACT), as enacted in each State and Territory (the National Law). Please find the National Law at http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/.

Section 213 of the National Law applies to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act). Please find the Privacy Act at http://www.comlaw.gov.au/.

The Privacy Act provides you with a number of rights designed to protect your privacy. For further information on the Privacy Act and the APP contact Office of the Australian Information Commissioner: http://www.oaic.gov.au.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all APC employees and any data collected by the APC.

3. Australian Privacy Principles (APP)

APP1: Open and transparent management of personal information

The APC manages personal information in an open and transparent way, including maintaining a clearly expressed and up to date APP Privacy policy on its management of personal information and make this policy readily available. On written request the APC will advise generally the kind of personal information the organisation holds, what it is used for, and how it collects, holds, uses and discloses that information.

APP2:Anonymity and pseudonymity

Where it is lawful, feasible and practicable, individuals may deal with the APC anonymously, or by using a pseudonym, however limited exceptions apply. Applicants and candidates choosing to do this should be aware that the APC may not always be able to fully assist them.

APP3: Collection of solicited personal information

Personal information is defined in section 6 of the Privacy Act as information or opinion about an individual whose identity is apparent or can be reasonably ascertained from the information or opinion.

The APC does not collect personal information unless this information is reasonably necessary for one or more of the APC's functions or activities as outlined at APP5.

Types of personal information which may be collected by APC and which are necessary for APC to carry out its functions under the Privacy Act include:

  • First names and surnames
  • Contact information including addresses and phone details
  • Age and gender
  • Educational qualifications
  • Information relating to employment
  • Health profession registration numbers

Where reasonable and practicable to do so APC will collect personal information only from you directly. The APC may also collect personal information regarding an individual from a range of different sources, in particular:

  • Council and committee members, examiners, external evaluators and Australian Pharmacy Council staff;
  • Overseas government departments and authorities;
  • Overseas educational institutions;
  • Overseas hospitals and health providers;
  • Our contracted service providers who conduct examination and accreditation functions on our behalf;
  • Applicants and candidates undertaking the skills recognition and examinations process;
  • Pharmacists undertaking the advanced practice credentialing process; and
  • Other regulatory bodies.

Regardless of whom APC collects the individual's personal information from; APC will only collect information by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive way.

Individuals should be aware that when necessary APC may ask a migration agent to collect an individual's personal information in relation to the assessment of their overseas qualifications.

Sensitive information will only be collected with consent, except in specified circumstances. If you consent to provide your sensitive information, you will be advised of the purpose for which that information is collected when you provide your consent. Unless otherwise allowed by the Privacy Act, your Sensitive Information will not be used for any purpose other than the purpose disclosed to you when you provide your consent.

APP4: Dealing with unsolicited personal information

If the APC collects unsolicited personal information, other than as described above, which it would not have been entitled to collect pursuant to the Privacy Act the APC will, if lawful and reasonable to do so, destroy or de-identify that unsolicited personal information as soon as practicable without using or disclosing it except for the purpose of determining whether the information should be retained.

APP5: Notification of the collection of personal information

At or before the time (or, if that is not practicable, as soon as practicable after) APC collects personal information, whether from that individual or another source, APC will take reasonable steps to ensure the individual is aware of:

  • APC's identity and how to contact it
  • the fact that APC has collected the information from the individual or someone other than the individual
  • the fact that he or she is able to gain access to or correct the information
  • the purposes for which the information is collected
  • the organisations to which APC usually discloses information of that kind
  • any law or court/tribunal that requires the particular information to be collected
  • the main consequences (if any) for the individual if all or part of the information is not provided
  • the avenues that the individual is able to pursue in complaining about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles
  • whether APC is likely to disclose the personal information to overseas recipients and, if practicable, in which countries these recipients are located

APP 6: Use or Disclosure of personal information

The APC collects and handles a range of information, including personal information necessary to perform the APCs functions. Information on the functions of the APC may be found on the APC Website. APC collects personal information only when it is reasonably necessary for one or more of its functions or activities (the primary purpose).

APC's functions include, but are not limited to:

  • Accrediting pharmacy schools and programs; intern training programs; and accrediting agencies to accredit continuing professional development activities
  • Conducting written examinations on behalf of the Pharmacy Board of Australia that must be passed prior to sitting the final oral competency assessment
  • Assessing the qualifications and skills of overseas trained pharmacists and international students graduating from an Australian pharmacy program to determine their eligibility to apply to commence the registration process
  • Independent assessment entity responsible and accountable for the credentialing of advanced pharmacy practitioners.

As a part of its functions, APC will also provide individual Australian student exam results to their nominated intern program provider. The APC will only use and disclose your personal information for the primary purpose for which it was disclosed. The APC will only use or disclose personal information for a secondary purpose, if that use or disclosure is authorised by the Privacy Act.

The APC may disclose an individual's personal information on a confidential basis to its agents, contractors or third party service providers who provide examination, financial, technical, or other services for the purposes only of the APCs functions.Information may also be disclosed where the law requires the APC to do so, or where the individual provides written consent.

The APC is authorised by the applicant (at the eligibility assessment phase) to advise Pharmacy Registering Authorities if there has been removal, withholding or a condition has been placed on their registration /licensure.

APP7: Direct Marketing

The APC is permitted to use your personal information to send direct marketing material to you, for the purpose of providing you with information regarding the APC's functions. We will only use your personal information for the purposes of sending direct marketing if that information is collected directly from you, and the direct marketing material includes an unsubscribe option. APC will not use any sensitive information collected for the purposes of direct marketing.

APP 8: Cross-border disclosure of personal information

APC uses overseas service providers to conduct examination, financial, technical, or other services. Ordinarily, if APC uses an overseas service provider, you will be asked to provide your personal information directly to that service provider. In some instances, related to APC's functions, you may provide personal information to APC which it may disclose its service providers.

Specifically, your personal information may be provided to NCS Pearsons Inc (provider of Pearson Vue) a United States corporation, for the purpose of facilitating candidate testing to allow APC to fulfil its functions.

Your personal information may also be provided to Cliftons or other international service providers which conducts and/or facilitates APC's international candidate testing. Your personal information will only be provided to such international service providers if you are an international candidate seeking registration as a health practitioner within Australia. In this case, APC may disclose your personal information to the entity undertaking testing within the country that you take the respective test.

APC advises that the international service providers described above are not accountable under the Privacy Act. If any of the above mentioned international service providers breach the APPs you will not be able to seek redress under the Privacy Act.

In consenting to this privacy policy, you acknowledge that APC is not responsible for ensuring that the overseas recipient in cross-border transfers does not breach the Australian Privacy Principles in their use of the personal information.

APP 9: Adoption, use or disclosure of government related identifiers

The APC will use its own identifiers and not those assigned by government unless it is required to do so.

APP 10: Quality of personal information

The APC will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information it collects, uses, or discloses is accurate, complete and up to date, complete and relevant, having regard to the purpose of the use or disclosure.

To seek a correction to personal information held by the APC, a request in writing may be made to:

The Privacy Officer
Australian Pharmacy Council
Level 1, 15 Lancaster Place, Majura Park, Canberra Airport, ACT 2609, Australia

APP 11: Security of personal information

The APC will take all reasonable steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse, loss, and unauthorised access, modification and disclosure. The APC keeps some information for a number of years to comply with legal requirements. Any personal information that is no longer required is disposed of in a secure manner or permanently de-identified.

APP 12: Access to personal information

The APC recognises the essential right of individuals to have their information handled in ways which they would reasonably expect – protected on the one hand, and made accessible to them on the other. Some circumstances where the APC would not provide applicants with their personal information may include those where access:

  • would pose a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of a person;
  • would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others;
  • is frivolous or vexatious;
  • would be unlawful or denial of access is allowed by law;
  • relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings and would not be accessible through discovery
  • may prejudice investigation, prosecution or other action in respect of any possible unlawful activity;
  • may reveal the APC's intentions and prejudice negotiations with the individual; or,
  • may damage national security.

If a request for access is declined, the APC will provide its reasons for doing so. Access to personal information is available as follows:

  • Council and committee members, staff members and active applicants or candidates may have access to their personal file and the personal information about them held on the records maintained by the Australian Pharmacy Council.
  • Sub-committee members, external evaluators and examiners may have access to the personal information about them held on the records maintained by the Australian Pharmacy Council.

Any requests for access should be made in writing to the APC. The APC will not charge a fee for an access request, but individuals may be charged any reasonable expenses incurred by the APC in facilitating a request, such as search and photocopying costs where applicable.

Requests may be made to the following address:

The Privacy Officer
Australian Pharmacy Council
Level 1, 15 Lancaster Place, Majura Park, Canberra Airport, ACT 2609, Australia

APP 13: Correction of personal information

The APC aims to ensure that the information it holds on individuals is accurate, up to date and complete. If an individual indicates to the APC that the information held is not accurate or complete, they may seek to have that information corrected by advising the APC in writing of the relevant corrections. However, the APC may refuse to change the information held, and will explain its reasons for this decision. In these circumstances, if an individual asks it to do so, the APC will keep a statement with the record that shows its disagreement and that the individual regards the information as inaccurate or out of date.

Any changes to information held in the Australian Pharmacy Council's records (such as details of identity or qualifications) must be accompanied by documentary evidence to support the corrections. Such documents must be copies of the original documents clearly authorised as a true copy of the original by a Justice of the Peace (JP), legal practitioner, public notary or other appropriate person as determined by the Australian Pharmacy Council.

All changes of personal information must be in writing and signed by the applicant, candidate or other individual concerned.

4. Complaints

An individual who believes that a breach of privacy may have occurred in relation to their personal information held by the APC should make a statement to that effect in writing to the APC CEO that will be followed up.

Contact Details

Chief Executive Officer Australian Pharmacy Council Level 1 15 Lancaster Place Majura Park Canberra Airport ACT 2609 Phone: +61 2 6188 4288 E-mail: admin@pharmacycouncil.org.au

An individual may alternatively wish to raise their concerns with the National Health Practitioner Privacy Commissioner or with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

The National Health Practitioner Privacy Commissioner may be contacted at:

30/570 Bourke Street
Melbourne Vic 3000
Ph: 03 86015234
Fax: 03 86015895

Email: nhpombudsmanprivacy@health.vic.gov.au. More information regarding complaints to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner may be found here: http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/making-a-privacy-complaint.

5. Correction to Personal Information held by the APC

To seek a correction to personal information held by the APC, a request in writing may be made to:

The Privacy Officer
Australian Pharmacy Council
Level 1, 15 Lancaster Place, Majura Park, Canberra Airport, ACT 2609, Australia