GOVERNMENT MUST SUSPEND MY HEALTH RECORD ROLLOUT AND ORDER A PRIVACY REVIEW
The Government must heed Labor’s call to suspend the rollout of the My Health Record and commission an independent review of privacy provisions.
A Labor-initiated inquiry into the My Health Record – which Greg Hunt dismissed as a “stunt” – has uncovered a number of new privacy and security concerns.
We agree that the Government’s botched implementation of an opt-out model means “an unreasonable compromise may have been struck between ensuring the utility of the system and safeguarding the privacy and safety of healthcare recipients”.
We therefore urge the Government to commission the Privacy Commissioner and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to review the system.
In particular, the review should consider:
- The appropriate balance between utility for clinicians, patients and others (such as carers), and privacy and security for individuals;
- The difficulty of ensuring informed consent in an opt-out model, and measures to encourage consumer engagement and informed choice;
- Changes to default access settings that are necessary because of the shift to an opt-out model (from an opt-in model, where informed consent was assured);
- Particular protections for vulnerable people, including minors aged 14-17 and families fleeing domestic violence; and
- Further legislative, policy and system changes that are needed to achieve these aims.
The Liberals failed to bring their My Health Record changes on for debate this week, in a clear signal they’ve realised their amendments are woefully inadequate.
This delay until the November sittings – days before the opt-out period is due to end – means the Government cannot keep to its current timetable. The My Health Record must not proceed until public confidence in this reform is restored.
Labor urges the Government to adopt the six amendments we have already announced, which are designed to restore that trust. These amendments will better protect the privacy of employees and women fleeing domestic violence, and ensure the My Health Record can never be privatised or commercialised, or exploited by private health insurers.
Labor supports electronic health records.
But the Senate inquiry process has exposed a range of deficiencies that must be addressed before this scheme rolls out to every Australian.
The Government has stubbornly refused to fix these problems, instead pressing on with a bill that doesn’t come close to addressing all relevant privacy and security concerns.
Labor has been calling for a suspension of the rollout since July but the Government has spent months insisting this wasn’t necessary. It’s time for the Government to admit it was wrong and change course before it’s too late.
THURSDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2018