Australians have been given an extra month to opt-out of the My Health Record scheme after the federal government moved to bolster privacy provisions.
Health Minister Greg Hunt formally extended the opt-out window on Friday morning after flagging the change last week.
Individuals will now be given until November 15 to withdraw their consent from the scheme, though the changes weren't yet reflected in the opt-out portal at the time of writing.
The actual creation of records is now likely to occur in mid-December.
The extension follows the government’s promise to redraft part of the My Health Record legislation to make it harder for agencies and police to gain access to the content of a personal electronic health record.
The amendment will also make it so individuals can permanently delete their record from the system at any time, and bring it in line with existing Australian Digital Health Agency policy.
The changes followed an emergency meeting with the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) last week over mounting privacy concerns that threatened to derail the My Health Record project.
“This was a key request from the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Colledge of General Practitioners and gives Australians more time to consider their options as we strengthen the 2012 My Health Record legislation,” Hunt said announcing the changes.
The federal opposition initiated the call for the opt-out period to be extended, with shadow minister for health Catherine King appealing to Hunt just a week into the opt-out period to give individuals enough time to make an informed choice.