The following press release has just been made available.
ANDREW SOUTHCOTT MP
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health Services, Health and Wellbeing
Federal Member for Boothby.
25 May 2010
Healthcare Identifiers Legislation Needs Tightening
The Coalition will be moving a number of amendments to strengthen the e-Health legislation which is currently before the Senate.
Whilst we support the intent of this Bill, the Opposition believes that this Bill can be strengthened through greater parliamentary oversight to protect patients and their privacy.
Coalition Senators on the Senate Community Affairs Committee raised a number of concerns about the breadth of this Bill and proposed several amendments to increase the scrutiny of the operation of health identifiers and the service operator.
In particular, the Bill as it stands continues to raise concerns about privacy and the possibility of function creep. It also leaves many crucial decisions to be made by the Minister through regulation, rather than requiring legislation and parliamentary approval.
Given the importance of this legislation, it is critical that there is thorough Parliamentary oversight to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect individual privacy and ensure the integrity of the e-Health system.
End of Release.
It seems to me there is no harm in making sure we have strong privacy and oversight arrangements. I will be interested to see just what the Opposition proposes. If they are reasonable the Government should just accept the amendments and move forward.