As the opt-out cutoff for My Health Record looms, PSA’s Shane Jackson has featured in a video arguing for the benefits of the system
The Senate has now called on the Morrison Government to extend or suspend the opt-out period for My Health Record.
The original opt-out period was set to end on October 15, but it was extended until Thursday, November 15, giving Australians little time left to opt out if they do not want a record created.
A motion co-sponsored by Labor Senator Murray Watt passed the Senate on Monday, but SBS reports that the Coalition is unlikely to extend the period.
The motion calls on the government to “extend or suspend the opt-out period until the legislation and any amendments are passed, outstanding privacy and security issues are addressed and public confidence in this important reform is restored”.
Shadow Health Minister Catherine King, who has been a vocal critic of the opt-out nature of the Coalition’s system – in contrast to the previous opt-in Labor system – has called the rollout “a complete debacle”.
“Their botch-job has seriously undermined public trust in this important reform and it’s going to take time to rebuild it,” she said on Monday.
“When Labor proposed six sensible amendments to fix the Liberals’ mess the Government refused to engage with us – only to turn around and hastily adopt our rescue plan a month later, just seven days before the opt-out period was due to end,” she said.
“But what the Government has not done is heed Labor’s call, and a Senate inquiry recommendation, to extend the opt-out period.
“Under the Government’s current timetable the opt-out period is due to finish this week.
“Once it does, the Government will begin creating records for 17 million Australians – whether they want one or not.
“This will occur even though the Government hasn’t actually passed its legislation yet, and cannot pass it before the opt-out period ends. There’s no guarantee the legislation will even pass this year – meaning some Australians may opt out unnecessarily over concerns that are addressed by the legislation.”
Meanwhile PSA president Shane Jackson has featured in a video published on YouTube by My Health Record, discussing how the system will allow pharmacists to improve patient care.
Dr Jackson is a Clinical Reference Lead for the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA).
Echoing earlier comments, he said My Health Record would be a “real game changer” in the care Australians can expect from community pharmacy.
“I say it’s a game changer, because when a patient comes into a pharmacy, often the only information that I’ll have about that person is their medication history,” said Dr Jackson.
“If somebody’s discharged from hospital and they’ve got a My Health Record, that discharge summary’s going to be in that My Health Record.
“And that discharge summary pretty much tells us as pharmacists what happened in hospital. Why were these changes made with your medications? Why were some medicines added? Why were some medicines stopped?
“So when the person comes into the pharmacy we know what’s gone on and that’s going to be very valuable to me to deliver ongoing care.”
Dr Jackson highlighted that patients control their own records, and said My Health Record “puts the person absolutely at the centre of their information”.
“Instead of things being done to them, things are being done for them. And they’re more knowledgeable about what’s actually happening.”
Watch the full video below.