Patient record requests
The Royal Women's Hospital has obstetric medical patient records dating back to 1960 and gynaecology records from 1968 onwards.
Prior to 1960 minimal birth details (for example, time of birth, weight and length) are available from Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria.
More recent patient records are stored at the hospital.
Older patient records are stored either in paper format in a tertiary storage area off-site or on microfiche/microfilm.
To access your patient record, please see the Freedom of Information section below.
The Royal Women's Hospital processes requests for patient information from a wide range of health care providers to support the continuum of patient care.
Patient consent is obtained prior to the release of information, according to the relevant legislation.
Some examples of requests are:
- GPs requesting current pathology results for a patient they are treating.
- Hospitals requesting previous admission details and any drug sensitivities for a patient that has presented to their emergency department.
- A patient is moving interstate and would like to transfer her antenatal care notes to another hospital.
Requests are handled on a daily basis with urgent requests being processed promptly, usually within two hours. Download the release of information form.
Under Part 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 and Part 6A of the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005, Information Sharing Entities and Risk Assessment Entities can request information to assess and manage family violence risk, and/or to promote a child's wellbeing or safety.
If you are an Information Sharing Entity, or a Risk Assessment Entity, a request for information under this legislation can be made using the Women’s Family Violence and Child Information Sharing Request Form.
Under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), the public can access the medical records of themselves or their relatives.
Requests for information may include:
- Copies of medical records
- Summaries of medical records
- Time of Birth
The Royal Women’s Hospital has obstetric patient records dating back to 1960 and gynaecology records from 1960 onwards.
Prior to 1960, minimal birth details (for example, time of birth, weight and length) are available from the hospital’s Birth Registers.
Older patient records are stored either in paper format in a secondary area offsite or on microfilm/microfiche.
In August 2020 the Women’s implemented an Electronic Medical Record (EMR), which has digitised the records from that date.
All requests must be received with completed application forms and must include appropriate identification. A copy of a valid concession card (if relevant) is required upon application.
Charges associated with requests (effective from 1 July 2023) may include:
|Search Fee (per hour or part thereof
|USB (digital copy of record/radiology and scans)
|$10.00 per USB
|Paper copy of record
|20c per double-sided page
|Colour Copy/Imaging from surgery
|$2.00 per page
|10c per PDF page
|All other external costs associated with retrieving, handling, processing and posting your request: an estimation will be provided after receiving your application and a deposit may be payable before proceeding.
The standard FOI application fee is only waived for applicants who can provide a photocopy of their Social Security card (i.e Pension or Healthcare card). This is not applicable for Time of Birth requests.
Following the requirements of the FOI Act, requests will receive attention as soon as possible but not later than 30 days upon acceptance of a valid application. In some cases, this time may be extended. Complete the online Freedom of Information application form.
For several decades, the Royal Women's Hospital operated as an adoption agency.
During that time, unmarried pregnant women were treated poorly at our hospital and forcibly and permanently separated from their babies, many of whom were then adopted. These mothers were often very young women who deserved compassion and care, instead they were shamed and judged at their most vulnerable time.
The Women’s is committed to listening to and acknowledging the devastating experiences of these mothers and their now, adult children. The hospital is working towards a meaningful acknowledgement and apology. To find out more, please read our statement Acknowledging our past role in the forced separation of mothers from their babies
Accessing adoption records
While the Women’s holds patient records (including birth records), it does not hold adoption records.
When the Royal Women’s Hospital ceased to be an adoption agency in 1987, all records related to the adoption process were transferred to the relevant government department. Information relating to adoptions can now be found on the Victorian Government website.
Accessing medical records
For births up to 1959, medical records have minimal information, such as date and time of birth, the weight and length of the baby.
For births from 1960 onwards, medical record include an obstetric record, which provides additional information to birth date, time, weight and length.
If you wish to access a medical record, the information you can access will depend on your relationship to that information:
- Mothers can access their own medical record
- Children can access their own medical record and information in their mother’s record about themselves.
Children wanting to access their mother's medical record can do so if they have the consent of their birth mother or her most senior next of kin. If this is not possible, our Freedom of Information (FOI) team will work with you and release as much information as is allowed under the law. For assisatnce, please download the Application for medical records relating to adoption.
There is no cost for accessing medical records related to historical cases where mothers and babies were forcibly separated.
If you accessed your records prior to July 2021 and have been charged a fee you can apply for a refund by contacting our FOI team via email or by calling 03 8345 2610.