Mcphee Lawyers

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12 November 2018

My Health Record and Family Law

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As the deadline for opting out of the ‘My Health Record’ scheme approaches we take a look at the impact of the scheme on family law and, in particular, the risks to families and children at risk of family violence.

As of 15 November 2018 all Australians, including children, who hold a Medicare card will be automatically enrolled in the scheme unless they have chosen to opt out by the deadline.

For those who do not opt out, the ‘My Health Record’ will bring together various medical information including the location of medical practitioners and pharmacies attended and school immunisation records. This information could potentially be used by perpetrators of family violence to locate the aggrieved party and the children. So how can access to a child’s ‘My Health Record’ be obtained? Quite simply it would seem!

Section 6 of the My Health Records Act 2012 provides that, if the system operator is satisfied that a person has parental responsibility for a child, then that person can be made an authorised representative for the child.  It would appear from enquiries to the ‘My Health Record’ hotline that simply having a child on your Medicare card will be enough to establish parental responsibility.

Once a person is an authorised representative it allows them to gain access to and monitor a child’s ‘My Health Record’ or potentially create a ‘My Health Record’ for the child who has been opted out of the system.

As family lawyers, we often see cases where Protection Orders are in place for the victims of family violence, but where there are no orders granting that parent sole parental responsibility for a child. It is also common for perpetrators of family violence to have parental responsibility for their children but, at the same time, have orders in place that restrict or supervise their time with the child.

If you or your children are at risk of family violence you should immediately contact the ‘My Health Record’ helpline to discuss what options are available to you. You can access further information on the My Health Record website.

If you would like further information about family violence or getting court orders to prevent access to ‘My Health Record’ accounts or would like to discuss your parenting matter generally please contact one of our solicitors.

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