News National Shorten backs doctors over My Health liability concerns

Shorten backs doctors over My Health liability concerns

The My Health rollout has been controversial from the beginning.
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Labor leader Bill Shorten wants another extension on the deadline for patients to opt out of the controversial MyHealth record as doctors warn it should be out on a back burner for another 12 months.

January 31 is the latest deadline for people to opt out of the government’s troubled My Health Record system. If they fail to do so, millions Australians will have a record created for them.

The government stresses that if you already have a My Health Record, and decide you don’t want one anymore, you can cancel it.

Doctors are warning it must be delayed because it’s not a complete list of patients’ drug records and patient care raising fears of legal liability.

“There’s no doubt there’s a question of liability here. We know that doctors and patients can choose whether or not to upload information. So who is responsible if a mistake is made, for example with a drug reaction or a drug allergy?,” Independent MP Kerryn Phelps said.

“Good medical practice requires an level of perfection. We also know that 25 per cent of hospital beds are not yet enabled to upload information.

Dr Phelps said GPs would continue to rely on more traditional methods of exchanging information until the records are up to speed.

“So the claims that the MyHealth record will actually help to save lives is an overreach at the moment. If doctors can’t trust the information that is on MyHealth records they are not going to trust it,” she said.

In November, Health Minister Greg Hunt extended the opt-out period for the My Health system after pressure from the Senate.

Senators voted to delay the deadline, but before the matter could be voted on by the House of Representatives, Mr Hunt backed the extension on Twitter.

The Morrison Government has previously been pressured into extending the “deadline” from October 15 to November 15 before finally settling on January 31.

“I really wish that Greg Hunt, the minister for health, spent as much time on the MyHealth record and getting that right, as he did on rolling Malcolm Turnbull,” Mr Shorten said.

“There’s a lot of concern. We like the idea and support the idea of digitisation of health records to make it easier for treating health professionals to deliver better quality care.

The principal is sound. But the lack of safeguards around the privacy has been most concerning.

“Over 1.1 million Australians have as I understand have already opted out of the My Health record because of concerns about privacy.

“I think the government, rather than rush the scheme, should extend the period that allows you to opt out to see if it can’t address the concerns of Australians.

So far, six million people have chosen to create a MyHealth record for themselves.

If a record is created for you on January 31 and you change your mind about wanting one, you can permanently delete your record at any time.