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Government buckles to pressure on My Health Record privacy

The federal government is assuring doctors it will strengthen the law around the My Health Record system.

The Federal Health Minister has bowed to intense pressure to address mounting privacy concerns around the government’s digital health record program.

The law governing who can access the online records will be changed following claims police and other agencies can obtain patient data without a warrant.

The government will also consider extending the opt-out period by a month.

Health Minister Greg Hunt tells Ben Fordham they have “listened” and are fixing the two pain points raised by the Australian Medical Association.

“No-one’s material will ever be released without a court order,” he says.

“We’re lifting what’s been in operation for six years to that higher standard.”

He says when patients request details on their record be cancelled, they will not be held in archives for up to 130 years but will be “deleted forever”.

Mr Hunt tells Ben the My Health Record program is “a really important system” that has “the potential to save lives”.

Click PLAY below to listen to the full interview with Mr Hunt

Australian Medical Association President Doctor Tony Bartone tells Chris Smith the government “finally” understands the issue.

“They’ve finally seen the importance of strengthening the legislation, the importance of an increased information campaign and the importance of assuring the trust that the patients expect.”

Mr Bartone confirms patients will now be able to permanently delete their record if they wish.

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview