Information exchange between agencies

WA Health system employees have a responsibility to take action whenever concerns are raised about possible child abuse or neglect. 

The exchange of confidential client information between different health services, and between WA Health system employees and other agencies often forms a significant part of any action. When information is not shared it can lead to adverse outcomes for that child.  

Decisions made regarding the seeking, providing or withholding of confidential client information, including the reasons for the decision reached and any resulting action, will be taken in consultation and be clearly documented. 

As standard best practice in all health care settings express consent for the sharing of confidential client information with external agencies will be sought. This includes those instances, such as the mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse, when the law requires the information to be provided, regardless of whether consent has been given or not. 

Any decision not to seek the parent’s and/or child’s consent to provide or request confidential information should only be made after consultation with a senior colleague and based on an assessment of: 
  • flight risk or further risk of harm to the child 
  • safety risk to the staff or other patients/clients. 
  • Legal protection when consent has not been obtained 

The Children and Community Services Act (2004) (sections 23, 28a, b and c, and 129) facilitates the disclosure of relevant information between WA Health and the Department of Communities (formerly Department for Child Protection and Family Support), or between the WA Health system and other prescribed Government agencies when consent for information exchange has not been sought; or has been sought and refused.

Last Updated: 27/10/2020