Wednesday, July 27, 2016
If You Want A Reason To Keep Your Medical Records To Just Those You Really Trust This Is It!
This appeared a few days ago:
July 22, 20169:53am
PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he’s considering giving Australia’s spy agencies access to mental health records to help curb terrorism.
But he claims any such move would be carefully considered, acknowledging it would be a huge change to our mental health privacy system.
Mr Turnbull has asked counter-terrorism co-ordinator Greg Moriarty to conduct a review into what further measures Australia can take to protect itself in the wake of the deadly Nice attack, The Herald Sun has revealed.
Speaking to 3AW today, the Prime Minister said allowing spy agencies, including ASIO, to access mental health records was being looked at.
“What I’m saying to you is it’s important that this be looked at carefully,” he said.
“You’ve got a number of important interests to balance here. Mental health alone is a, leaving aside issues of terrorism, is a gigantic challenge.
“It is critical too that people feel and know that when they talk to, when the go to Headspace for example they do so confidentially and in a trusted environment.
“My most important obligation, my most important responsibility as Prime Minister of Australia, is to keep the people of Australia safe.”
While I can understand the Government’s motivation in this, it really seems to me this is a ‘reach too far’ in terms of intrusion into people’s lives, unless the most stringent of safeguards is in place.
To me this would have to be that access to such records would require a warrant issued by an independent judicial officer (i.e. at least a District Court Judge) and that the patient be told that such access is being sought and why – and given a chance to appeal the issuance of such a warrant.
It seems to me that any person whose record is likely to reveal anything useful is just as likely to have covered their tracks pretty well, while those who pose essentially no threat will have more easily accessed records.
That said my usual advice on all this stands – you only want to give private health information to the Government that you are happy to see on the cover of the SMH!
One just feels the police state is one small step closer if we agree to intrusions like this!
Posted by Dr David G More MB PhD at Wednesday, July 27, 2016