Labor pushes My Health Record inquiry

Inquiry to examine shift to opt-out, privacy issues

Labor says it will seek crossbench support for a Senate inquiry into the rollout of the My Health Record system.

Health minister Greg Hunt earlier this month announced the government would seek to amend the My Health Record Act to mandate judicial oversight for any disclosures of information to law enforcement agencies.

Hunt also revealed that the government would extend the period in which Australians can opt-out of having a record created, as well make changes to the eHealth record system to allow records to be deleted.

“We remain deeply concerned that the government’s bungled rollout of the My Health Record opt-out period has severely undermined public trust in this important reform,” said a statement issued by shadow health and Medicare minister Catherine King and Senator Jenny McAllister, the chair of the Senate’s Finance and Public Administration References Committee.

“Labor has long supported an electronic health record system. We believe it has the capacity to revolutionise health care delivery, but we also recognise it needs a high degree of public support in order to be successful.”

The rollout of the eHealth record system began under the previous Labor government and the 2015 legislation that allowed the shift to an opt-out model enjoyed bipartisan support.

The Labor MPs said that the Senate inquiry “will review all the laws, regulations and rules that underpin the My Health Record.”

“It will examine the government’s decision to shift from an opt-in system to an opt-out system and whether it adequately prepared for this fundamental change from Labor’s system.”

The inquiry will also examine privacy and security concerns, including issues around potential access to information by abusive partners and during investigations of workers’ compensation claims.

The inquiry woulexpected to report before the extended opt-out period ends in mid-November.

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