1. Background and purpose

The National Serology Reference Laboratory (NRL), a division of St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research (SVI) is an independent, non-profit organisation which supports the quality of testing for infectious diseases, globally.

The purpose of this Privacy Collection Statement is to advise visitors to the NRL website and users of NRL’s various services of the way in which NRL may collect, use, and disclose their personal information.

NRL provides the following services which may involve the collection of Personal Information:

  1. Quality Assurance to medical testing laboratories through its Quality Control (QC) and External Quality Assessment Schemes (EQAS)
  2. Provision of QC monitoring software, such as EDCNet
  3. Testing services to screen blood and tissue donations for infectious diseases and /or confirm test results of other laboratories
  4. Evaluation of in-vitro diagnostic devices (IVD)
  5. Scientific Consulting and Training and events
  6. Biobanking services
  7. Clinical research studies

This Privacy Collection Statement is to be read in conjunction with the SVI Privacy Policy, which is available on SVI’s webpage at: https://www.svi.edu.au/privacy.

The exact information being collected and how it is used will vary with the specific NRL service. When necessary, detail regarding the confidentiality of Personal Information collected specific to that service will be provided in addition to this general information.

NRL is committed to the integrity and safeguarding of Personal Information and takes all reasonable steps to ensure that your Personal Information is protected from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, and disclosure.

All NRL staff are bound by a confidentiality agreement and other measures to ensure the confidentiality of Personal Information is embedded into NRL’s policies and procedures, so as to ensure no breach of confidentiality occurs.


  1. Why does NRL need your Personal Information and how will NRL use it?

Personal Information is collected by NRL to effectively provide our services. The Personal Information collected is tailored to each service, and only that Personal Information deemed necessary to provide each service is collected.

Personal Information collected by NRL is used for the specific purpose for which it was collected or, where appropriate, for NRL customer satisfaction surveys and notifications of changes to our services.

NRL conducts customer satisfaction surveys to improve our performance, ensure we achieve the requirements of the wide range of customers who use NRL’s services, to fulfill regulatory and accreditation requirements, and to ensure that we adapt to meet our customers changing needs.

Please note that if you choose not to provide your Personal Information it may not be possible for you to enrol in EQAS programs or register to use EDCNet.


  1. What types of Personal Information will be collected by NRL?

NRL will collect Personal Information which is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, its services and activities. This may include collection of Personal Information which is provided through enrolment forms, registration forms, clinical (patient) information and test results associated with samples, contracts for NRL’s various services and Personal Information gathered during the provision of services.

The Personal Information that may be collected from and about you may include:

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Phone number
  4. Email address
  5. Place of employment
  6. Clinical data and Personal Information provided with samples and/or data for Testing and Biobank services
  7. Results of diagnostic tests performed by NRL
  8. Any other data required to effectively conduct the service contracted

Personal Information may be collected either in person, over the phone, over the internet, via email, from specimen request forms or otherwise.

When you are providing NRL with the Personal Information of another person you are encouraged to inform them that you are disclosing that information and they can access that information by contacting SVI’s Privacy Officer, as set out in the SVI Privacy Policy.

Your personal information will be collected, stored, transmitted, and backed up in a secure manner and only be accessible to authorised NRL personnel who have a legitimate interest in it for the purpose of carrying out their duties and activities. NRL personnel are obliged to keep your personal information secure and confidential to protect your privacy. Personal Information will be stored for the period of time required to provide the services.

Clinical research participants, Biobank participants and donors of samples and/or data are informed of the confidentiality procedures regarding their samples and/or data at the time of consent to participate via an informed consent process approved by an appropriate ethics committee. All samples and/or data provided to the Biobank are de-identified with procedures that are in place to ensure Personal Information is removed and securely stored.


  1. Who will NRL share your Personal Information with?

NRL will disclose Personal Information about you to third parties only where necessary for the purposes for which it was originally collected and/or where NRL is under a legal obligation to disclose, including the following:

  1. Third party contracted service providers, which NRL uses to perform services on its behalf with respect to EQAS or EDCNet;
  2. Biobank Steering Committee for review of applications to commence projects or retrieve samples;
  3. SVHM Research Governance Office during reviews and audits of Biobank’s human ethics approval;
  4. As described in the SVI Privacy Policy.

Where Personal Information is disclosed to third parties, it will be done so only to the extent necessary to fulfil the purpose of such disclosure.

Any requirement to re-identify Biobank samples and/or data with Personal Information is subject to review by the SVI Biobank Steering Committee. If sample/data re-identification is approved, the donor will be contacted to seek their consent to the re-identification with their Personal Information. No sample and/or data will be re-identified without this consent, except where the Biobank is required by law to release confidential information. In this instance, the provider/donor shall be notified of the information provided, unless prohibited by law.


  1. What are your individual rights?

You have rights to access, delete and correct your Personal Information, or to restrict the use of the Personal Information. A request to modify Personal Information, or a complaint relating to how NRL handles your Personal Information, can be lodged as set out in the SVI Privacy Policy. NRL commits to providing information regarding the action taken when you lodge a request or complaint, within one month of its receipt, and at no charge

People who have provided samples and/or data to researchers who store samples in the SVI Biobank may withdraw their participation at any time. Following withdrawal, all samples and/or data and Personal Information will be securely destroyed.


  1. Who can I contact if I have any questions about how my Personal Information is being used or how can I exercise my rights?

If you have any questions about how your Personal Information is being used, or you wish to exercise any of your individual rights that are available to you, please contact the SVI Privacy Officer by email at [email protected], or at:

Privacy Officer
St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research
9 Princes Street
Fitzroy 3065
Victoria, Australia

Page last updated: 29 November 2022