Labor moving to establish Senate inquiry on health record

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Labor has announced its intention to establish a Senate inquiry into the government's roll-out of the My Health Record opt-out.

In a statement, shadow health minister Catherine King said Labor remains concerned the roll-out to date has "severely undermined" public trust in the reform.

Health minister Greg Hunt recently announced plans to extend the opt-out period by one month, from October to November, and make a number of other changes to strengthen consumer privacy provisions.

Australian consumers have until 15 November this year to opt-out of having a My Health Record.

The My Health Record allows people to manage privacy and control access to their information, including what gets uploaded and who has access such as family members, carers and healthcare providers. 

Ms King said Labor supports an electronic health record system.

"We believe it has the capacity to revolutionise health care delivery, but we also recognise it needs a high degree of public support in order to be successful," she said, adding "more needs to be done" in addition to the recent changes announced by Mr Hunt.

Ms King said Labor will ask the Senate crossbench to support a reference to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee.

"The inquiry will review all the laws, regulations and rules that underpin the My Health Record," she said.

"It will examine the Government’s decision to shift from an opt-in system to an opt-out system and whether it adequately prepared for this fundamental change from Labor’s system.

"It will examine a range of privacy and security concerns, including the adequacy of the system’s log-in procedures and default settings. It will also consider issues raised in the public domain around domestic violence and workers’ compensation.

"The inquiry will look at the adequacy of the Government’s public information campaign, and the potential that commercial interests – including health insurers – could be given access to My Health data."

Labor said it will ask the committee to report before the end of the opt-out period in mid-November.