Backdown over My Health Record

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney today

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney today. Health Government backs down on My Health Record

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt will toughen laws around who can access the My Health Record system, as well as giving people greater control over removing the information in a bid to fend off growing privacy concerns about the online medical database.

Royal Australian College of General practitioners president Dr Harry Nespolon cancelled his own My Health Record over privacy concerns and also demanded the legislation be changed to require a court order before police could see the record.

Mr Hunt said he and medical leaders would work on additional communication with the public about the benefits of the system.

Every Australian will get a My Health Record that will reveal if they have had an abortion, a mental illness, sexually transmitted disease or drug addiction unless they opt out by October 15.

A survey of 471 doctors by industry magazine Australian Doctor has found eight in 10 doctors plan to opt out of the record because they do not trust it will be useful or kept up to date.

"Changes to the legislation that remove any questions about who may be able to access the records ensure that the records will be able to be used in line with the RACGP's position statement on My Health Records".

"The amendment will ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any goal, without a court order", he said.

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.

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However, the commissioner noted that the latest breaches don't relate to the My Health Records system.

Yarwood also highlighted that even with law enforcement access dealt with, there will still be almost a million health sector workers able to access MyHealth Record. Wilson said Hunt's move should restore confidence in the system.

However, after meeting with the AMA and the RACGP on Tuesday Mr Hunt backed down. It needs to be protected, not just shared - and I'm pleased that Minister Greg Hunt has agreed to do so, ' Dr Seidel posted on Twitter.

News Corp has been contacted by people frustrated that they can't opt out by using a paper form.

"No documents have been released in more than six years and no documents will be released without a court order".

Lobby group Digital Rights Watch said the changes vindicated the concerns of privacy experts, medical practitioners, concerned citizens and some government MPs.

In the weeks following the news that Australians would need to opt-out of the Turnbull government's My Health Record digital health file system - a move that directly goes against one asking you to opt-in rather than the opposite way around - people from all across the political divide have been studying the terms and conditions of the government's centralised health system with more scrutiny.

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