privacy of medical records threatened

Tuesday, 30 January 2001 NSWCCL media release: 2/2001


Cameron Murphy, President of the NSWCCL said today, 

“Today’s proposal by Premier Carr to place Medical Records on a database and make them available online is a serious threat to patient privacy. The dangers of publishing private information in this way are too great to allow this policy to commence.” 

“Medical patients must be assured that their records are safe and their use should be subject to the patient’s consent on each occasion. Premier Carr would allow numerous people access to this information and it would be difficult to prevent misuse under his proposal.” 

“There are not adequate guarantees that patients confidential records will be secure if this system is adopted. As it stands the proposal from Premier Carr would lead to the potential for data about millions of hospital and doctor visits to fall into the wrong hands.” 

“The patient concerned is the only person who should decide whom has access to his or her records. To make them publicly available on a database which thousands of health and other officials can access will inevitably lead to the mishandling of private information.” 

“The dangers inherent in this proposal are clear. If a patient believes that their diagnosis or medical history of illness will be exposed they may well decide not to seek treatment to prevent public knowledge. For example someone may delay seeking an AIDS test for fear that others may find out about their situation. It is not in the public interest to allow this situation to occur.” 

“The Premier clearly doesn’t understand the implications of this proposal. He has announced it, describing only its benefits, and has only a superficial understanding of the consequences of such a profound policy.” 

President, CAMERON MURPHY 0411 769 769