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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 3523..


Thursday, 22 September 2005

The Assembly met at 10.30 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Health Records (Privacy and Access) Amendment Bill 2005 (No 2)

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo-Minister for Health and Minister for Planning, and Acting Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Acting Minister for Women and Acting Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.32): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The proposed Health Records (Privacy and Access) Amendment Bill 2005 (No 2) amends the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 to address issues not covered by the legislation and to make some minor changes to some of the provisions of the legislation that do not work well in practice. In addition, some further minor amendments are proposed to ensure that the legislation is consistent with the National Health Privacy Code.

The Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997, which is the current legislation, came into effect on 1 February 1998. The intention of the legislation is to provide for the privacy and integrity of, and access to, personal health records and information. Over several years the Community and Health Services Complaints Commissioner has been approached by a number of individual health service providers, provider organisations, consumer groups and individuals in relation to the limitations of the current act. A working party was formed by the Community and Health Services Complaints Commissioner to consider the aspects of the legislation that needed to be improved and what other amendments were necessary to keep the ACT legislation in line with the National Health Privacy Code.

This bill proposes amendments to the current act by adding a provision to include minimum periods for retaining health records; amending section 7 to ensure that access to health records by third parties protects the consumer's privacy; amending the act to allow access to health records in defined circumstances by families, guardians and carers of deceased people where the person dies intestate or is legally incompetent; amending the act to allow access to health information by carers in limited circumstances and allowing the disclosure of identifiable data for research purposes in controlled circumstances.


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