Data breaches linked to My Health Record
A NEWS Corp investigation can reveal there has already been nine data breaches involving the Federal Government's My Health Record system.
The revelation comes as Health Minister Greg Hunt bowed to mounting public pressure and strengthened privacy provisions relating to accessing the record.
Mr Hunt also announced there would be changes to the deletion of records and also extended the opt-out period after meeting with doctors from the Australian Medical Association and College of General Practitioners on Tuesday night.
The opt-out period will be extend for a month until November 12.
News Corp can also reveal Australians who want to opt out of the My Health Record using a paper form can't unless they live in a rural area.
A survey of 471 doctors by industry magazine Australian Doctor has found eight in 10 doctors plan to opt out of the record because they do not trust it will be useful or kept up to date.
The results come amid News Corp findings that claims there has never been a data breach of the My Health Record are not true.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has been claiming the record has military grade security and said: "the advice that I have, no data breaches and no releases to any law enforcement agencies after six years."
However, in its own question and answer publication sent to doctors, the Australian Digital Health Agency, which runs the record, admits there have been nine data breaches associated with the record.
"In the 2016-17 financial year, there were six data breach notifications within My Health Record, and three notifications in the previous financial year," the agency admitted.
"Of the six data breaches reported by the Agency, four were the result of alleged fraudulent Medicare claims," the agency said.
"The remaining two breaches were the result of a consumer accessing a My Health Record that was not their own due to a processing error by the Department of Human Services."
There were no financial or jail penalties applied as a result of the breaches even though the agency says there are penalties of up to $126,000 or a two-year jail terms.
News Corp has also been contacted by people frustrated they can't opt out of the My Health Record using a paper form.
Paul Power tried to find a paper form so his 98-year-old aunt, who does not use a computer, could opt out but was told there were no forms available in metropolitan areas.
He then had to travel 20 kilometres to Bannockburn, in Victoria, post office to get one.
Queensland University of Technology law academic Alastair MacAdam discovered the same problem when he tried to get a paper form so his sons, who work long hours, and elderly relatives could opt out.
"You wouldn't believe it, you just couldn't get a form," he said.
"I'm in Longman (division), I rang the PM's office and never heard back," Mr MacAdam said.
"I rang the minister (Greg Hunt) and one of his staffers treated me with contempt, tried to brush me off."
Ultimately, Mr MacAdam he said he was able to get a paper opt out form through Senator James McGrath's office.
Mr MacAdam said the form should be on the Australian Digital Health Agency's website so it can be printed off.
He says he is opting out because he is a liberal who believes you "don't trust the government".
My Health Record Expansion Program Deputy Chair Dr Steve Hambleton confirmed to News Corp that paper forms were only available to people living in the bush.
People who did not have access to a computer to opt out online could ring the My Health Record opt out hotline, he said.
Some people have been complaining they had to wait over two hours on the hotline to opt out of their record, the agency's website currently records a 14 minute wait for complex problems.