All projects using linked dataCan refer to: (1) the demographic data used in the Data Linkage process; or (2) information pertaining to services provided to people or their clinical information (available only from Data Custodians, including via CARES). require approval from the Department of Health WA Human Research Ethics Committee (DOHWA HREC).  

After receiving in-principle support from the DLBData Linkage Branch: the specialist team at the Department of Health who are responsible for developing and maintaining the WA Data Linkage System, performing data linkage, and the facilitation of access to linked data. and Data Custodians, a formal application for ethical review can be submitted to DOH HRECDepartment of Health Human Research Ethics Committee. A group that provides governance over Department of Health personal health information and its use in research. See also http://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Corporate/Articles/N_R/Research-ethics.

The following should be submitted to DOH HREC:

  • WA Health Application for Ethics Review from DOH HREC (signed) 
  • Application for Data
  • Data Services Forms
  • Variable Lists 
  • Feasibility LetterA letter from the DLB Project Officer indicating in-principle support from Data Custodians and the DLB for a linked data request. The letter communicates to an Applicant that his/her request is technically feasible and that the application can proceed to the next phase of ethical review by DOH HREC. The letter does not communicate formal approval.
  • Other supporting documentation 
  • Declarations of Confidentiality from DOH HREC 
  • Relevant Research Governance Forms

Please note that if DOH HREC requests changes to the data request, Application for Data, Data Services forms or variable lists, this must first be discussed with the DLB Project Officer before resubmitting updated documents to DOH HREC.


Department of Health WA HREC

The DOHWADepartment of Health Western Australia HREC has responsibility for oversight of the use and disclosure of personal health information* held in the Department of Health WA data collections.
The DOHWA HREC  is registered with the National Health and Medical Recearch Council, NHMRC, and is constituted in compliance with the 2007 NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (PDF, 884KB).

The DOHWA HREC website has details about the application process and HREC meeting dates. For more information about the DOHWA HREC you can contact:

Executive Officer, DOHWA HREC
HREC@health.wa.gov.au
Phone: +61 8 9222 4278

*Personal health information is information or opinions that relate to the health of a person where the identity of a person is apparent or can reasonably be ascertained from the information. For a more detailed explanation see the Practice Code For the Use of Personal Health Information.


Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee

If data is being requested to perform health-related research involving Indigenous people, ethics approval must also be sought from the Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee (WAAHEC).

In particular, projects should be submitted to WAAHEC if one or more of the following apply:

  • Aboriginality is a key determinant
  • Data collection is explicitly directed at Indigenous people
  • Indigenous people, as a group, will be examined in the results
  • The information has an impact on one or more Aboriginal communities
  • Aboriginal health funds are a source of funding