There’s just a week to go if you want to opt out of the Government’s My Health Record. With concerns over potential privacy breaches the Health Minister has unveiled a raft of changes including increased penalties for those who misuse the system. Health Minister Greg Hunt joins me now. Minister, good morning to you. Can you now guarantee people’s data will be safe?
Well in fact we’ve had six years of operation and six million people involved and no cases identified of any misuse.
It is arguably the safest system in the world and most importantly this is about giving people for the first time access their own medical records when they need it, where they want to access it and importantly it’s also about preventing misuse of medication.
We have over 200,000 people go to hospital every year. So it’s a modern part of any health management system. So each person, a man or a dad who’s watching this morning can access the record of themselves.
They can access the record of their children. If somebody goes to hospital in any emergency situation and they’re not able to say that they have an allergy to penicillin, it’s simply about saving and protecting lives and it’s been operating for six years, but this is giving every Australian the opportunity to choose whether they’re in or they’re not in and to access their medical records when they need them.
I understand you’ve also made some changes to make the system safer for victims of domestic violence. How does that work?
Yes, so what we’ve done is put in place additional protections so as nobody who has had any order against them in relation to children and families would be able to access their children’s record. It’s a recommendation that’s come through from the Senate. Again, no case is identified within six years across six million records, but we’re making all of the safety precautions that should be taken.
And it is a very important system, this is ultimately about giving everybody the chance, whether they’re in an emergency situation so as they have the full protection, so as they don’t have inappropriate medications or they need to access their own history, what vaccinations they’ve had, what vaccinations their children have had.
You can imagine if one of you or myself or others wanted to know what happened 10 years ago, to be able to do that sort of thing going forward is an immensely important part of a modern health system and it’s been operating well but we want to make sure that everybody has that access.
Sure. Well one week to go to opt out if people choose to do so. In the meantime you have a big announcement this morning I understand.
Although I will- That’s right, yes. I will add that people can opt out at any time throughout their life, so it’s something that can happen. It’s just whether or not a record is created but people can opt out at any time.
Yes, there’s a big announcement this morning in terms of mental health for young people. A new program, the Healthy Minds Program.
So many young people continue to have mental health challenges. It could be anxiety or depression and there’s a new program that will be instituted, the Healthy Minds Program, which will be trialled in schools about preventing mental health, giving people the tools, the equipment, the way to identify challenges and to prevent it from turning in to a mental health issue.
Okay, that is a welcome announcement, I’m sure, for many parents, many teachers and families out there this morning. Minister Greg Hunt, we appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.
All the best. Cheers.