Greg Hunt My Health Records

  • Greg Hunt My Health Records

Greg Hunt My Health Records

The health minister, Greg Hunt, has been forced to back down because of escalating controversy over My Health Records, saying legislation will be amended to no record can be released to police or government agencies without a court order.

The Australian Digital Health Agency, the system operator of My Health Record, had previously said its policy was not to release patient records to police and government without a court order.

"The government will also work with medical leaders on additional communications to the public about the benefits and goal of the My Health Record, so they can make an informed choice", Mr Hunt said.

"The amendment will ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any objective, without a court order", he said.

Even with a court order, Yarwood said, the delegation power and the data release regime represents a profound change to how health data is handled.

'This change to the My Health Record Act will therefore remove any ambiguity on this matter, ' he said.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt will toughen laws around who can access the My Health Record system, as well as giving people greater control over removing the information in a bid to fend off growing privacy concerns about the online medical database.

"That's a very broad-based release regime that will override various protections like the Privacy Act", Yarwood said.

Australia's peak medical bodies have won some concessions over the privacy of the country's MyHealth Record, and the government says it will extend the opt-out period to mid-November, but it's unlikely to end the hostile debate over the initiative.

Catherine King, Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare, criticised the government's response, labelling My Health Record a "fiasco" and called for the rollout of MHR to be suspended.

While doctors were eager to see the scheme implemented, they were also at the forefront of those raising privacy issues.

Yarwood also highlighted that even with law enforcement access dealt with, there will still be almost a million health sector workers able to access MyHealth Record.

Dr Phelps warned patients would no longer trust their doctors with medical secrets if they feared their health records could be accessed to charge them with drug crimes, prostitution or abortion.

"Even though the Australian Digital Health Agency says that would never happen, and importantly it never has happened, the legislation did not make that clear", he said.

It is understood that support for a redrafting of the legislation emerged within the Liberal Party after last weekend's byelections, in which Labor bolstered its position in part by attacking the Turnbull government's record on health.

However, the commissioner noted that the latest breaches don't relate to the My Health Records system. Wilson said Hunt's move should restore confidence in the system.

He also welcomed the change to allow records to be permanently deleted rather than stored.

"I'm in Longman (division), I rang the PM's office and never heard back", Mr MacAdam said.