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MrHR: where opting out isn't easy

By Guy Hallowes - posted Friday, 27 July 2018

We are told that the basis for the new 'My Health Record' is that six million people have already agreed to a record being established for them. Is this really the situation? In my case I only found out that a record had already been established for me, when I attempted the 'opt-out' option on the 'My Health Record' website. I had no knowledge of and most certainly had not knowingly agreed to any such record being established.

I only found out when I tried to 'opt-out' of the My Health Record. I did this twice and then phoned the number (1800 723 471) suggested in the document telling me I was unsuccessful in trying to 'opt-out'.

I have now been told that my record cannot be expunged. What I have been told is that the record will be kept as it is, but will be 'frozen' so that nobody has access to it.


This is most unsatisfactory. I did not agree to the record being established and I don't want it kept anywhere.

It should also be noted that the process arriving at finding out that my record cannot be expunged is very cumbersome indeed and this appears to be a deliberate attempt to make it difficult to actually get to speak to the person who told me that my record cannot be expunged:

Last Saturday I spent about forty minutes phoning the number listed, all I got was a series of recorded messages. There was no notification that the service was not available on a Saturday.

On Monday starting at 8am I tried again. The whole process took more than an hour.

Initially I eventually got through to someone who established my identity. She then asked if I would 'wait two minutes' so she could put me through to the 'cancellations department' . This happened three times. The impression I got was they expected me to abandon the call at that time, because I had had to wait so long. I was given a 'cancellation code'.

I then got through to said 'cancellations department' who told me that the record that had been established could not be expunged altogether but would be sealed and frozen so nobody would be able to access it. They did not want the 'cancellation code'.


So the bottom line is that once a record has been established, that record will remain, and nothing can be done to expunge it.

I would therefore strongly recommend that people should 'opt-out' if they still have that option.

As far as I am concerned all this is most unsatisfactory. I have a well founded concern that the system will not be secure. I don't think any such system has any real chance of being secure.(ref: the recent experience of a Singapore Government system, where something like one third of their records have been hacked).

There is also great deal of contradictory information floating around about who will have access to the system.

I think the Government should come clean about the source of the people for whom a record has already been created. To claim that these people have all agreed to have such a record created is patently false. I very much doubt that I am the only person who had no knowledge that a record had been created for them

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About the Author

Sydney-based Guy Hallowes is the author of Icefall, a thriller dealing with the consequences of climate change. He has also written several novels on the change from Colonial to Majority rule in Africa. To buy browse and buy his books click here.

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