Health controversy: Droves of residents opt out of My Health
FEARS over privacy and data breaches has seen droves of Tweed residents opt out of the Federal Government's controversial My Health Record service.
Every Australian will automatically be provided with an online My Health Record unless they choose to opt out before October 15.
The service will provide doctors with online access to important health information such as medicines, diagnosed conditions and allergies.
But fears over security and the potential for hackers to access and sell personal information to third-party companies has seen thousands of Australians opt out of the service.
There has also been confusion surrounding legislation of the service, which could potentially see police access health records without a court order.
Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten told the ABC last week he wanted to see the My Health Record roll-out suspended until privacy concerns were addressed.
The controversy comes just a week after hackers stole the health records of 1.5million people in Singapore, including the record of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
A small survey of Tweed Daily News readers revealed nearly 70 per cent would be opting out of the service.
Brays Creek woman Martha Turner said she had already opted out due to security concerns.
"I'm mostly concerned with centralising lots of information about us as citizens of Australia without adequate security," Ms Turner said.
"There's too much risk that information could be passed on or sold deliberately or accidentally to third parties who have no right, it's just asking for trouble."
Murwillumbah's Karen Halliday said she had chosen to opt out of the service after she heard third party companies could potentially have access to patient data.
"I have no problem with every doctor in Australia being able to access my record but not non-medical people," she said.
"It's really a breach of confidentiality and until all that is sorted I will be opting out."
Ms Halliday said she had already opted herself and her oldest son out of the service, but when she attempted to do the same for her younger son, she was told there was no record that he was her child.
"I'm keen to find out how they've decided my youngest isn't my child, that rings alarm bells," she said.
"I'm wondering who they've assigned my child to, if someone becomes aware of that, they could use that information for identity theft."
Kingscliff's Dot Holdom said she could understand privacy concerns but would not be opting out of the service.
"As someone who is ageing past the 60-plus mark, I have a few health issues and as you age you do tend to need more things that can look after you quicker," she said.
"There's a lot of elderly people that live on their own, if they don't have next of kin and there's an accident at home, first responders may need that information.
"In a worst case scenario where a young family was in a car accident, it may well be that information could assist first emergency responders. I do see benefits that could outweigh the negatives."