More than 1.1 million Australians have now opted out of the My Health Record following the Government’s botched rollout – but the Liberals are still refusing to say what they’re planning to do to restore public trust in this important reform.
Under Labor questioning in Senate estimates on Wednesday, the Australian Digital Health Agency revealed 1,147,000 have now opted out.
That’s a 200,000 increase in the last month.
This shows just how badly the Government’s rollout has undermined public support for a system that could deliver enormous benefits.
Labor maintains the Government should extend the opt-out period until all privacy and security concerns – including those raised throughout the Senate inquiry initiated by Labor – are fully addressed.
However Minister Hunt is stubbornly refusing to heed this call, even though top medical groups like the AMA and RACGP agree with Labor’s stance.
Health bureaucrats have also revealed the Government is weighing further changes to the My Health Record legislation based on concerns raised during the inquiry – even though Minister Hunt earlier dismissed the inquiry as a stunt.
Minister Hunt should immediately detail what changes he intends to make so they can be fully considered before the opt-out period ends in November.
Labor supports a national digital health record – which is why we created one when we were last in Government.
But the Government’s rushed implementation of an opt-out model created a range of problems not addressed by their woefully inadequate amendments.
Labor intends to move amendments to the Government’s bill to ensure:
- The My Health Record can never be privatised or commercialised;
- Private health insurers can never access My Health Records, including de-identified data;
- Employees’ right to privacy is protected in the context of employer-directed health care, by including a clause similar to s14(2) of the Healthcare Identifiers Act in the My Health Record Act;
- Vulnerable children and parents such as those fleeing domestic violence are protected, by narrowing the definition of parental responsibility;
- The System Operator (the Australian Digital Health Agency) cannot delegate access to My Health Records to other entities; and
- Tougher penalties for breaches of the Act.
The Government should adopt all of these amendments.
Labor is also calling on the Government to commission and independent review of privacy provisions.
WEDNESDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2018