Health minister again bows to pressure on controversial medical records site.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has capitulated and extended the deadline to opt out of the My Health Record (MHR) database until 31 January next year.
The about-face came as the latest deadline loomed with users complaining that the site was crashing before they could complete the opt-out process.
There have also been complaints that the phone lines which could also be used to opt out were down.
The deadline had been extended from 15 October to 3am (AEDT) tomorrow after widespread criticism of the controversial site’s ability to safeguard Australians’ sensitive medical records from hackers.
Every Australian with a Medicare card will automatically be given a digital record containing their medical history unless they opt out before the January deadline.
Yesterday’s turmoil was brushed aside by the agency handling the MHR scheme, according to the ABC.
“We are experiencing high demand, which has slowed the system down, and some people have experienced difficulties opting out this morning,” an Australian Digital Health Agency spokesperson said in a statement.
“These issues have now been resolved. The agency anticipated higher call volumes and has increased the number of helpline operators available to support callers.”
Meanwhile, Mr Hunt said yesterday the Government's focus was on strengthening the safety and privacy of health information in the system.
“The Parliament is now considering further amendments to Labor's original My Health Record legislation,” he said.
Labor health spokeswoman Catherine King still has concerns about data security and privacy and wants the Government to extend the opt-out deadline for 12 months, the ABC reported.
“Let's get this right, we think this is an important reform, it was a reform started by Labor but we think you need to take the time to get this right,” she said.
“We have been forced into the position today in the Senate of trying to extend the opt-out period again because the Government is just not listening.”
To join the more than 1.1 million Australians who have already opted out, visit this government website link.
Have you already opted out, and if so why? Are you happy to have all your medical records stored in one place by the Government?
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