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Government backs down on My Health Record

03 August 2018

Following the meetings, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the My Health Record Act will be changed, bringing it into line with the existing Australian Digital Health Agency policy.

Under the original My Health Record (MHR) plan, some patient data would be retained for up to 130 years, even if a patient requested it be removed.

The prime minister had signalled the government would make "refinements" to the scheme - but a growing backlash lead to calls for changes including requiring law enforcement agencies to get a warrant to access the records and dramatically narrowing the grounds to release information.

"Concerns have been voiced in the rural and remote health sector that My Health Record information could be accessed by agencies like the Tax Office and Centrelink without a court order", Mr Diamond said.

"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".

Australians have until mid-October to decide whether they want to opt out from the Government's My Health Record database. "This will be enshrined in legislation".

'The AMA has always been protective and vigilant about the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship, and this should not be affected by the My Health Record, ' Dr Bartone said in a statement last week.

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

Health Minister Greg Hunt has been forced to back down over the My Health Record system.

People who did not have access to a computer to opt out online could ring the My Health Record opt out hotline, he said.

"Privacy of health records is vital, and it is good that the Minister has responded to these concerns and provided the necessary assurances", Mr Tambassis said.

'A patient's medical record contains highly sensitive, confidential and privileged information.

"When a patient steps into the office of one of our Global Positioning System, we want them to know that their health information is private and protected", wrote Dr. Harry Nespolon, president-elect of the RACGP.

The Minister also said that the legislation would be amended to ensure that if a person wishes to cancel their My Health Record, they will be able to do so permanently, with that record deleted from the system.

Cancelling a record means it remains in the system but is made "unavailable", with health providers unable to access it.

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.

"I also welcome the additional communications to the public to assist individuals make an informed decision as to whether or not to have a My Health Record".

Government backs down on My Health Record