Health ministers from across Australia unanimously reaffirmed their support for My Health Record and the national opt out approach at the Council of Australian Government Health Council meeting in Alice Springs.
I welcome the bi-partisan support from both Labor and Liberal state governments for this important health reform.
As health ministers noted at the meeting, the expert clinical advice is that My Health Record will deliver better health care for patients.
I also want to acknowledge the strong support from all ministers regarding a strengthening of privacy provisions under the My Health Record Act, removing any doubt regarding Labor’s 2012 legislation.
Labor’s 2012 My Health Record legislation will be strengthened to match the existing Australian Digital Health Agency policy.
This policy requires a court order to release any My Health Record information without consent.
The amendment will ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any purpose, without a court order.
The Digital Health Agency’s policy is clear and categorical - no documents have been released in more than six years and no documents will be released without a court order. This will be enshrined in legislation.
This change to the My Health Record Act will therefore remove any ambiguity on this matter.
In addition, the Government will also amend Labor’s 2012 legislation to ensure if someone wishes to cancel their record they will be able to do so permanently, with their record deleted from the system.
The Government will also work with medical leaders on additional communications to the public about the benefits and purpose of the My Health Record, so they can make an informed choice.
Yesterday I agreed to extend the national opt out period by an extra month, this was a key request of both the AMA and RACGP.
COAG health ministers statement on My Health Record:
“Jurisdictions reaffirmed their support of a national opt out approach to the My Health Record. Jurisdictions noted clinical advice about the benefits of My Health Record and expressed their strong support for My Health Record to support patient’s health. Ministers acknowledged some concerns in the community and noted actions proposed to provide community confidence, including strengthening privacy and security provisions of My Health Record.”
The communique is available on the COAG Health Council website.