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08 Mar 2019

More than 2.5 million Australians have opted out of the My Health Record.

The Australian Digital Health Agency revealed the figure under questioning from Labor during Senate estimates in February.

Before the end of January, the hearing was told, a total of 2,517,921 opted out of the system.

That figure does not include an estimated 300,000 others who had records but cancelled them.

During estimates hearings in October last year, the Agency said almost 1.5 million people had opted out – 1,147,000 to be exact.

Shadow Health Minister Catherine King described the latest figure as a “dramatic increase” due to the public’s lack of confidence in the system.

“Labor supports a national digital health record, which is why we created one when we were last in government,” Ms King said.

“But the Government’s rushed implementation of an opt-out model created a range of problems and severely undermined public support for a system that could deliver enormous health benefits for all Australians.

“While the Government adopted all of Labor’s legislative reforms to the system last year, they failed to adequately address other lingering security and privacy concerns before the end of the opt-out.

“We maintain the Government should commission an independent Privacy Commissioner review of the system. If they fail to do so, a Shorten Labor Government will.”

The Opposition wants a review to consider the appropriate balance between utility for clinicians, patients and others and privacy and security for individuals; the difficulty of ensuring informed consent in an opt-out model; changes to default access settings: protections for vulnerable people, including minors and families fleeing domestic violence; and further legislative, policy and system changes that are needed to achieve these aims.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said people could cancel their My Health Record any time and that the Government had strengthened privacy provisions under the My Health Record Act. He has previously said the Government was pleased with the number of people who chose to have a My Health Record.


Published: 08 Mar 2019