No 'single' My Health Record opt-out deadline: Greg Hunt

Laverne Higgins
November 15, 2018

Under pressure from medical and privacy groups the government is trying to tighten privacy and security aspects of the record but these changes have not yet passed the parliament.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, who moved the Senate amendment to extend the date, said website crashes had made it hard for some people to opt out.

The Senate has voted to extend the opt-out period for the My Health Record system to 31 January, as a fresh website outage marred Thursday's deadline for people to remove themselves from the system.

Labor had been attempting to extend the deadline by 12 months, but that proposal was voted down in the Senate 32-30, before senators instead back One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's January 31 proposal.

The Australian Digital Health Agency has told News Corp that My Health Records won't be created for those Australians who haven't opted out immediately from Thursday but will be established within weeks.

The opt-out period will be extended until January 31, 2019, however, it's important to note that people can opt-out at any time.

"The opt-out period must not end until the clean-up legislation has passed the Parliament".

Anyone who wants to access the My Health Record must have the patient's name, address, date of birth and Medicare details, as well as the right software to use the system.

"To my knowledge, there is now no public disclosure of the precise security controls and technologies deployed for My Health Record, nor have audits been published or even their summaries", Ralph Holz, an expert in cybersecurity from the University of Sydney, tells The Daily Swig.

Phelps said that Australians with legitimate concerns about My Health Record had "little choice but to opt out until these problems are addressed".

No, details of immunisations are included on the Australian Immunisation Register and this is separate to My Health Record.

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"The Government needs to take seriously the decision of the Senate to recommend an extension of the opt-out date".

The Senate is sitting alone this week, while the lower house will have its final two-week sitting period of the year from November 26.

Labor and the Greens had been pushing for a 12 month extension following a Senate Inquiry that found several security and privacy flaws in the scheme which was originally designed as an opt-in model.

"The opt-out website and the My Health Record help line are both operational", the ADHA told Guardian Australia.

A spokeswoman for the Minister previously told News Corp: "My Health Record was created to save lives and has the backing of all the major medical groups including the AMA".

Ms King said her office had received "hundreds of calls from people who can not get through online or by phone". Some patients who have a My Health Record complain it has not been updated in years.

As it stands the parents of teenagers will be able to access their children's My Health Record making it hard for children to keep private health issues they may wish to hide from their parents.

A further 88 cases occurred between July 2012 and June this year, including at least eight cases where an unauthorised third party had access to records.

If it is delayed, Labor can still seek crossbench support to put the bill onto the agenda.

So far around 4% of the population - around 1.15 million people have chosen to not be part of the system amid an ongoing debate about privacy and access to the records.

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