Threat to My Health Record ahead of COAG meeting

July 28, 2018

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles has threatened to derail the federal government’s three month opt-out deadline for the My Health Record in an expected showdown at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Alice Springs this week.

In a letter to federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, Mr Miles accuses him of botching the rollout of the MHR and creating “very serious concerns” about the privacy implications for Australians, including uncertainty about who would be given access to a patient’s private health record, something Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has been warning about for some weeks.

The Advertiser reports, to add to the growing public backlash and increasing scrutiny of My Health Record, key health lobby groups backing it have declared themselves to be on the payroll of the agency rolling it out.

The Australian Digital Health Agency has spent millions of dollars of taxpayers' money trying to co-opt the support of leading health and consumer groups for the government’s online My Health Record:

* The Consumers' Health Forum has received over $105,000;

* The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners nearly $2 million;

* The Australian Health and Hospitals Association $1.2 million;

* The Pharmacy Guild $194,000;

* Australian Council Of Social Service $32,500.

The Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners both signed contracts with the government to promote the record to doctors in return for a $910 million increase in Medicare rebates.

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

Earlier this month, a Parliamentary Library paper critical of privacy aspects of the My Health Record was removed from the library’s website and later a more anodyne version replaced it.

Conservative Party leader and senator for South Australia, Cory Bernardi, told ABC Radio Adelaide that he has 'opted out' already from being part of the My Health Record rollout, and has concerns about the government's ability to protect the data.

To read Sue Dunlevy's full article, click here.

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