Policy on Management of Personal & Health Information

The Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry (VCCR or Registry) is a government funded confidential, computerised database of Victorian women's Pap test results and related information relevant to cervical screening. The main functions of the Registry are to facilitate the regular participation of women in the National Cervical Screening Program by sending reminder letters when their Pap test is overdue, and to provide a safety net for the follow-up of women with abnormal Pap results.


The Registry operates under Victorian legislation and is maintained by the Victorian Cytology Service, Inc (VCS).

The management and staff of VCS who operate the Registry appreciate that personal and health information is held on the Registry.  VCS has strict confidentiality practices in place and all staff are required to abide by these.  All staff and visitors who during the course of their visit may potentially observe personal and health information contained on the Registry sign a confidentiality statement and undergo a police check.   


All personal and health information on the Registry is managed on the premises of VCS.  In accordance with prudent business practice, backup tapes of the information system are stored in a secure facility off-site.  No service is contracted out to a third party, other than use of typical utilities such as Australia Post and Telstra.



How is personal and health information collected?

 Personal and health information held on the Registry is mainly collected from the pathology laboratory that reported your Pap test unless you have elected not to have your details included on the Registry (see Opt-Out section below).  Sometimes information is sought from your health care practitioner to assist the Registry in managing your health record.

 Information you provide directly to the Registry such as change of address, may also be entered on your Registry health record.


What personal and health information is held?

 Only information relevant to the functions and activities of the Registry is held by VCS in connection with the Registry.

 Personal and health information held by VCS on the Registry may include:

  • Your name (current and previous), date of birth, addresses (current and previous), phone numbers, email addresses, Medicare Number, indigenous status, country of birth, language spoken at home and Pap test result.

  • The name, address and Provider Number of the health care practitioner who ordered or conducted your Pap test.

  • The name and address of the laboratory reporting your Pap test.

The results of further investigations such as colposcopies, biopsies and HPV tests – and other relevant information about your health - may also be recorded on your Registry record as these can affect how often you need Pap tests in the future.


How is personal and health information used?

 The personal and health information held on the Registry is used by VCS for the following purposes:

  1. to provide recommendations for follow up;

  2. to assist a pathology laboratory in reporting a current Pap test or in their decision about whether or not to issue an amended report on a previously reported Pap test;

  3. to send reminder letters to women who are overdue for screening;

  4. to assist women to receive follow-up care after an abnormal Pap test; this may involve communication with the health care practitioner or the woman;
  5. to assist pathology laboratories in measuring the quality of their Pap test reporting;
  6. for research to improve our knowledge, particularly about how to achieve and maintain high participation rates in cervical screening and how to prevent cancer of the cervix in women. However, no research publication will identify an individual person;
  7. to inform funding, management, planning, monitoring and evaluation of the Registry and health services.


When is personal and health information disclosed?

 VCS may disclose personal and health information on the Registry in the following circumstances:

  1. to your health care practitioner (typically a general practitioner, an obstetrician and gynaecologist), or the staff of a pathology laboratory
  2. to Medicare Australia for the purpose of providing a follow-up service to women with abnormal Pap tests. Specifically, where a woman has left her last known address and has an apparently untreated high-grade abnormality on a Pap test or has an abnormal Pap test result about which she is unaware, the Registry approaches Medicare Australia for a new address (if known).
  3. to the Victorian Cancer Registry or to any other similar cancer registry for women who reside in Victoria and who are diagnosed with cancer.
  4. to the representative of a woman (eg an authorised representative or lawyer), with her written consent.

 VCS does not disclose an individual’s personal or health information to any overseas organisation or person (other than the individual).

Opting-Out (Exclusion from the Registry)

 You may elect to not have your personal and health information recorded on the Registry.  This is commonly referred to as Opting-out.

If you wish to not have your personal and health information recorded on the Registry you should indicate to your health care practitioner, every time you have a Pap test that your personal details are not to be forwarded to VCCR.  Your health care practitioner is then required to provide this direction to the pathology laboratory reporting your test.

If your personal and health information is already held by the Registry and you wish to have your details removed, please contact VCS at the details set out below. 

You may elect to remain on the Registry but may choose not to receive any personal correspondence, such as reminder letters, from the Registry. If you choose not to receive correspondence, your personal details and health information remain on the Registry and VCS will continue to provide the usual correspondence to your health care practitioners.  You may also request that any Registry correspondence relating to you is sent care of your health care practitioner.  Please contact VCS if you no longer wish to receive correspondence regarding the Registry.


How to obtain access to personal and health information held by the Registry? 

VCS is happy to provide you with access to your personal and health information at no cost.  You may also request correction of your information held on the Registry.

 The following section describes how you may request access to or correction of your information.

  1. Your request to VCS should be in writing (a form is available on request - Request for Personal Health Records) and addressed to the Executive Director at the contact details set out below.
  2. You should provide sufficient identification so that the authenticity of the request can be considered to be satisfactory by VCS.
  3. Your personal information may be provided in a summary hard copy form to you or alternatively you may visit VCS to personally view your records.
  4. VCS will aim to respond to these requests within 25 working days of receipt of the request.  

How to make a complaint about your privacy?


If you have any concerns or complaints about the manner in which VCS has handled your personal or health information, please contact us in writing at the below address.  We will endeavour to resolve your complaint promptly and will provide a written response to you.  Alternatively, you may make a complaint to the Health Services Commissioner (at the details set out below).

Contact Details for VCCR

Postal Address:
The Medical Director
Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry
PO Box 161
Carlton South VIC 3053

Telephone: (03) 9250 0399

Fax:(03) 9349 1818

Contact Details for the Health Services Commissioner

Postal Address:
Health Services Commissioner
30th Floor
570 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000


Telephone: 1800 136 066