Data not publically available? How to make a data access request

Under the National Scheme, AHPRA and the National Boards collect comprehensive data on registered health practitioners. The National Law and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) impose strict limits on how we use this data.

Read our Data access and research policy

We have developed a Data access and research policy (the policy) to maximise the benefits that data access can bring, while managing risks to the privacy of registered health practitioners whose information we collect and hold for the purposes of the National Law and other statutory obligations.

This policy is a comprehensive guide for individuals, agencies, institutions and researchers on the type of requests we may consider. The policy is currently under review.

Download the Data access and research policy: PDF (294 KB), Word version (186 KB,DOCX)

Types of data requests

From time to time we receive requests to (e)mail registered health practitioners, or to access their contact details.

AHPRA holds registrant details for the primary purpose of administering the National Scheme. We understand that you may, for example, want to target a sample of practitioners for your research.

However, under the National Law we hold registrant details for the primary purpose of administering the National Scheme. The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) strictly limits the use of this information for secondary purposes. How we collect, use, disclose and protect personal information is important. See the Privacy page on our website.

This means that we are unable to provide you with contact details for practitioners (that is, we cannot provide you with mailing addresses or email addresses). Furthermore, we are unable to contact practitioners on your behalf (via a mail house or a Board Newsletter) unless it is required by the National Law, is directly related to exercising functions under the National Law or is directly related to the purpose of administering the National Scheme. Surveys of practitioners are generally not considered to be required by the National Law.

If you are a Commonwealth, state or territory agency/entity or registration authority and believe your request to contact practitioners fits within the National Law, please email datarequests@ahpra.gov.au.

Due to the requirements of the National Law and Privacy Act, we must not disclose protected information unless there is an exemption under the National Law (such as the Register of practitioners) and the disclosure meets the requirements of the Privacy Act.

These exemptions generally relate to Commonwealth, state and territory agencies/entities and registration authorities. For more information on disclosure of information and confidentiality please see Part 10 Division 2 of the National Law.

If you wish to request data that is non-identifiable (that is, it does not include information that identifies the identity of a person), and non-sensitive please check first whether the information you are requesting is already publically available. Check out our summary of already published data sources.

Requests for data/information that are not publically available will be assessed in line with our policies and legislative requirements. The release of this data/information is at the discretion of AHPRA’s CEO or their delegate.

If you are requesting data for the purpose of research please pay particular attention to our Data access and research policy and note that you may be required to have ethics approval.

Please note that your request will need to be assessed by AHPRA’s Research Evaluation Committee (REC) if it involves research or evaluation activities using national scheme data, and:

  • presents ethical issues, and/or 
  • requires significant resource implications, and/or 
  • includes provision of unit record data, and/or 
  • presents any other significant risks associated with disclosure.

You will be advised if this is the case. The REC meets every two months from February to December each year:

  • February 
  • April 
  • June 
  • August 
  • October, and 
  • December.

If you are making a request that may meet the above criteria for assessment by the REC, we would advise you to submit completed documentation at least a month before the relevant meeting. For example, if you would like the REC to consider your request at its February meeting, the REC secretariat must receive it by the start of January. For more information on the REC, please see the Data access and research policy.

Final approval to release the information sits with the AHPRA CEO or their delegate.

 

How we make decisions about your request

Each data request is unique and requires time and expertise to compile. Our resources are limited and we may be unable to carry out your data access request even if it meets our legislative requirements as we balance your request against the operational needs of the organisation.

In addition to the legislative requirements and staff availability, we will also assess the quality, accessibility and suitability of the data requested, the purpose for which it is requested, and your proposed methodology if carrying out research.

How to submit your request

To submit an application for your data access request, first email datarequests@ahpra.gov.au and we will email you the appropriate form and any other information you may need to complete your application.

Once completed, you can send your application form (with all the relevant attachments) to the same email address. You may also post it to the REC Secretariat, AHPRA, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne VIC 3001.

We will contact you if we require further information and will let you know the process and timeframes for reviewing your request.

Depending on the nature of your request, it will usually take us at least a few weeks to provide a final response. Accordingly, we strongly encourage you to submit your request well before any deadline you may have.

Fees and charges for all requests will be applied on a cost recovery basis, subject to the provisions of the National Law and Privacy Act. If your request is approved, we will provide you with a quote for costs, if applicable, before proceeding with any work.

Still have a question?

If you have any other questions, please email us at datarequests@ahpra.gov.au.

 
 
 
Page reviewed 18/09/2017