The State Government must allow people to opt out of having their private health records automatically shared on a central database, Northern Victoria MP Gaelle Broad has told Parliament.
Ms Broad said people should have freedom of choice on whether their health information was automatically accessible to all public health professionals.
She said it was clear the Health Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill should be amended.
“While we all want to help our frontline health workers as much as possible, this Bill has some flaws which need to be ironed out,” she said.
Ms Broad said the plan could have major implications for victims of crimes such as domestic violence, or people with highly sensitive health information such as mental health issues or family planning, where privacy is vitally important.
“The Nationals are asking that the Bill be amended to give people the choice as to whether they want their information included on this new database,” she told Parliament.
“I have been contacted by people who have very real concerns that the lack of an opt-out option will put vulnerable people at risk,” she said.
The Bill would require participating health services to upload all relevant health information to a central Government-run database accessible to health workers.
Patient consent is not required and there is no ability to opt out or chose to restrict access to health information that might be sensitive in nature.
“By contrast, the national My Health Record allows people to opt out and about 10 per cent of Australians chose to do so.”
The AMA is generally supportive. However, the Law Institute of Victoria wants the government to withdraw the bill and engage in greater consultation over privacy concerns.
Ms Broad said the Nationals were seeking two amendments in the Upper House; to include an opt-out provision; and to remove an FOI exemption.
“Victorians should be able to choose if they want their private information to be shared in this manner.”