National Health Measures Survey (NHMS) Collection Notice

This Collection Notice explains the collection of personal information in the National Health Measures Survey (NHMS).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) collects personal information for different purposes. The ABS has a Privacy Policy for Statistical Information as well as an NHMS specific Privacy Impact Assessment, which provides more details about how personal information is protected for this survey. These are available on the ABS website at www.abs.gov.au/privacy

Who is collecting your personal information?

Your personal information is being collected from you or your Parent/Guardian/Legally Authorised Representative to be used by the ABS and Sonic Pathology Australia.

How is your personal information collected?

If you agree to participate in the voluntary collection, you will be asked to provide a referral form containing personal information including health conditions and current medications to a Sonic Pathology Australia collection centre. You will also be asked to provide a blood and/or urine sample, depending on your age. If you are under 18 years of age the referral form may be completed by a guardian but will need to be signed by yourself as well as your guardian.

A set of tests will be run by Sonic Pathology Australia on the samples and results of the tests collected by the ABS. If you consented, a copy of your results will also be sent to your doctor.

What personal information is collected?

For the NHMS, the ABS and Sonic Pathology Australia collect and hold different kinds of personal information about you. 

  • name (if you are 17 years and under, this includes the name of your Parent/Legal Guardian/Legally Authorised Representative)
  • age
  • sex
  • postal address
  • email address
  • contact phone number
  • sensitive personal information such as health conditions, current medications, Doctors details and test results.

Why does the ABS collect your personal information?

We collect personal information to create statistics about the health of Australians. These statistics inform important decisions relating to health policy and delivery of services across Australia.

The purpose of the NHMS is to collect additional information from study participants on selected biomedical markers of chronic disease, nutrition, and environmental measures.

The ABS is committed to maximising the value of data and statistics. To do this, we also collect personal information to link information between your answers to National Health Survey (NHS) or National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS), your test results and other administrative sources. This is known as data integration, and information about you is not identifiable throughout this process. For more information about this process, see the data integration page on the ABS website.

We also collect personal information to help us run the NHMS. This personal information is used to make communicating with you easier, including reminders and the provision of the gift card reimbursement.

Why does Sonic Healthcare collect your personal information?

Your personal information is collected by Sonic Pathology Australia to facilitate the testing and management of your blood and urine samples. This information may also be used to provide information about unexpected test results to you, and if you agree, to your nominated doctor.

Personal information received by Sonic Pathology Australia is managed in line with the Sonic Pathology Australia Privacy Policy and the Privacy Act 1988.

How long will your personal information be kept?

The ABS will keep:

  • names and addresses for up to 36 months.
  • information we collect to run the NHMS no longer than the collection period, which should end by June 2024.

Sonic Pathology Australia will keep:

  • Names and addresses indefinitely .

Sonic Pathology Australia will destroy or permanently de-identify any personal information that is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was collected, provided they are not required, under relevant accreditation standards or an Australian law, to retain the information.

The information collected is a medical result which may be used as part of a clinical diagnosis if the results are outside the normal range for the test. Sonic Pathology Australia maintains electronic information on names and addresses to enable them to match against hard copy test results if they are required to do so.

Who will your personal information be shared with?

The ABS will:

  • only share information that does not identify you with approved researchers and will only share this in a safe way.

The ABS will not:

  • share information in a way that would identify anyone (our legislation does not allow this)
  • share information with private organisations, such as direct marketing companies
  • share data with other government agencies for compliance or regulation activities. Our Privacy Policy outlines the penalties for ABS employees who fail to protect your data.

Sonic Pathology Australia will only share your personal information with the ABS and, with your consent, your doctor.

What happens if you refuse to complete the NHMS?

Unlike other compulsory ABS surveys, the NHMS is voluntary and requires your consent to participate. It will not be an offence under section 14 of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 to not participate in the NHMS. Consent to participate in the NHMS can be withdrawn by a participant at any time by contacting the ABS on 1800 482 517. Deidentified information already collected may continue to be included in the survey.

Authority for collection of personal information

Sonic Pathology Australia has been contracted by the ABS to provide pathology services for the NHMS.

With your consent, Sonic Pathology Australia will collect personal information from you, including sensitive information, in accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act 1988.

With your consent, the ABS will collect personal information from Sonic Pathology Australia under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905

Data integration

Data integration is a method of bringing together information from different sources about the same person.

To use the information from your blood and urine test results for health reporting, the ABS must link this to your survey information. This information may also be combined with other administrative data in the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP) to inform further health and wellbeing research. Research using this information is subject to rigorous governance processes as outlined on the website keeping integrated data safe.

For operational reasons, we cannot ask you to consent to data integration as a separate component to providing biomedical samples in the NHMS. When you consent to the NHMS, you are consenting to provide both biomedical samples and to have the results from these linked to other data, to maximise the value from the information. An example of this would be linking measures of high cholesterol from your blood sample and number of visits to the GP to manage heart conditions. If you do not wish to have your data linked, please do not consent to participate in the NHMS. You can withdraw your consent at any time by contacting the ABS on 1800 482 517.

Overseas disclosure of your personal information

The ABS will not disclose your personal information to any organisation located overseas. When personal information gathered / used to help run the NHMS is stored in the cloud, it is kept in Australia.

How to access and correct your personal information

Contact the ABS Privacy Officer using the details provided below if you need to access or correct personal information collected about you in relation to the NHMS. If the personal information you provided in the NHMS changes, you can contact the ABS on 1800 482 517.

Privacy complaints

The ABS Privacy Policy for Statistical Information has information about how you can make a complaint if you feel we have not adequately protected your privacy. The Policy describes how we will respond to your complaint, and what you can do if you are not satisfied with our response.

You can contact the ABS Privacy Officer (details below) who will respond to your enquiries or assist with complaints.

ABS Privacy Officer contact details

By email: privacy@abs.gov.au

By post: ABS Privacy Officer
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10, Belconnen ACT 2617

Has this study been reviewed by an Ethics Committee?

The Bellberry Human Research Ethics Committee has reviewed and approved this survey in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) – incorporating all updates. This Statement has been developed to protect the interests of people who agree to participate in human research studies.

Should you wish to discuss the survey with someone not directly involved, particularly in relation to matters concerning policies, information or complaints about the conduct of the survey or your rights as a participant, or view a copy of the Complaint procedure, you may contact the Operations Manager Bellberry Limited on 08 8361 3222.