Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

My Health Record: Government promises changes to legislation

My Health Record: Government promises changes to legislation

Senior doctors had held talks with Mr Hunt over growing and wide-spread concerns over privacy and security of the online records, which are created to follow patients through their lives and streamline treatment. That's seems to be par for the course in general in government, but the past few have been particularly so, especially when it comes to understanding the digital needs of its citizens.

Mark Diamond said removing the ambiguity is critical for people to trust their health information to the My Health Record system.

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 changes will be implemented and introduced as soon as possible, he said.

The Federal Government has bowed to the intense pressure surrounding the controversial My Health Record system, promising to strengthen laws to protect patient's privacy.

"Greg Hunt has completely bungled the My Health Record rollout and he must do a great deal more to fully restore public trust in this important reform", King said in a statement.

Mr Hunt also announced there would be changes to the deletion of records and also extended the opt-out period after meeting with doctors from the Australian Medical Association and College of General Practitioners on Tuesday night.

CNET reached out for additional comment from the Australian Digital Health Agency, but did not immediately receive a response.

That aspect of the e-health system was so contentious that when the Parliamentary Library published an opinion that the legislation did, in fact, provide warrantless access to the records, the piece was briefly unpublished before being replaced with a version that was less confronting to the government.

Doctor groups also welcomed the changes.

"Don't be fooled by the Minister's backdown on a couple of aspects of the #MyHealthRecord privacy concerns, there are bigger problems remaining".

The RACGP president-elect Dr Harry Nespolon said Hunt's amendments were necessary.

In recent weeks, Hunt has repeated assertions that My Health Record is safe and has a higher level of security than banks.

National Rural Health Alliance CEO Mark Diamond said the changes address his organisation's fears that the records could be accessed by agencies such as the Tax Office and Centrelink without a court order.

"We can now move forward and have certainty around the protections to the privacy of those medical records that our patients expect", AMA president Tony Bartone told ABC radio on Wednesday.

In other changes the record will now be permanently deleted if Australians decide to cancel it instead of being kept on a government site for up to 130 years and a communications campaign explaining the roll out of the opt out record will be strengthened.

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