One of the first pieces of legislation Dan Andrews is attempting to pass in his third term is the Health Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill which will centralize ALL Victorians’ Health Records in a central government database with no one able to opt out.
This Bill largely replaces the 2021 Bill which lapsed in the last term of the Victorian Parliament. The Law Institute of Victoria which was vocal during previous Andrews Government attempts to pass laws eroding rights during the pandemic has called for an opt-out provision to be made. Its President Tania Wolff stated that “Patient autonomy is a fundamental human right: it’s the same principle that allows a patient to refuse medical treatment.”
The Federal Government’s My Health Record scheme allowed an opt-out provision after considerable backlash with one in ten Australians choosing to do so according to the Australian Digital Health Agency.
The stated aim of the Victorian Bill is to improve the efficiency of medical care provided to Victorians. But this database of Victorian medical records will be exempt from freedom of information requests about who has access to the database and for what purposes.
We saw during covid the Victoria Government prevent people from working and participating in society when they held everyone’s covid vaccine status in a central government database. This could easily happen again if all Victorians’ private medical information is stored in a government database. This is not to mention that such databases could be obtained by hackers and released if a reason is not paid as happened to Medibank private customers last year.
Yesterday Emily Coltraine of Voice of Victoria launched a petition on the Victorian Parliament’s website to amend the Health Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill 2023 to protect patient autonomy in line with The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights. It is sponsored by and will be tabled in Parliament by Liberal Democrat MLC David Limbrick. Petitions with over 10,000 signatures are given a 30-minute slot in Parliament for debate. The Andrews Government must respond to ALL petitions tabled in Parliament.