Nearly a million ditch My Health Record
NINE hundred thousand Australians have opted out of the My Health Record fuelling calls for the roll out to be delayed as public confidence in the policy crashes.
Under questioning at a Senate hearing government officials revealed 900,000 people have opted not to have a digital health record.
In addition they revealed a recent survey had found nearly half the population didn't even know the government would create a record for them if they didn't opt out.
The record has been subject to a raft of major privacy concerns and fears it could help domestic violence perpetrators track down their victims.
Privacy experts are also worried that the default setting of the record is open access and fewer than one per cent of people have set a PIN number to control which health professionals can see the information in the record.
The opt out rate has also raised questions about the effectiveness of the government's information campaign around the record.
The government decided not to send households a letter explaining the record or run a national television, radio and newspaper campaign explaining how it worked.
The collapse of public support means the government is under pressure to further delay the roll out the record that will be given to every Australian from November 16 and reveal if they have a mental illness, a sexually transmitted disease, are impotent or had an abortion.
Former Australian Medical Association president and candidate for Malcolm Turnbull's seat of Wentworth Professor Kerryn Phelps is calling for the roll out of the record to be delayed for at least 12 months while a judicial inquiry investigates privacy concerns.
"Privacy experts and security experts need time to look at all the implications for the record," she said.
"People themselves need to understand what could go wrong," she said.
Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said the government had undermined the digital health record by switching it to an opt out system.
Ms King said the Government must now heed Labor's call to suspend the opt-out rollout until all remaining security and privacy concerns are addressed and public confidence in this important reform is restored.
"It's clear now just how badly the Government's rollout has undermined public support for a system that could deliver enormous benefits," Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said.
Labor created the My Health Record and began rolling it out in 2012 but it was an opt in record, the Morrison Government will give everyone a record on November 16 unless they opt out.
"The Government's failure to explain its shift from an opt-in model to an opt-out model has fuelled suspicion and scepticism," Ms King said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the opt out rate was far lower than the government had expected, "we were expecting 10" per cent of people would opt out, he said
Mr Hunt said the record would save lives.
"It's a system so as if you go to the emergency and you're not able to recite your history because you've been in an accident, if somebody has multiple chronic conditions and they are suffering, that record is there when it's needed for the moment that you need it," he said.
" It has the potential to be, I think, the best system in the world," he said.