Health Consumers Council WA submission document

By Tina Butler,2014-06-06 10:36
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Health Consumers Council WA submission document


    ABN: 87 841 350 116 GPO Box C134 Perth WA 6839

    Healthcare Identifiers and Privacy Submission

Primary and Ambulatory Care Division (MDP1)

    Department of Health and Ageing

    GPO Box 9848

    Canberra ACT 2601


    The Health Consumers‟ Council is an independent community based organisation, representing the consumers‟ „voice‟ in health policy, planning, research and service delivery. The Council advocates on behalf of consumers to government, doctors, other health professionals, hospitals and the wider health system. Funded by the Department of Health WA, the Council provides a state wide service. To find out more you can check our website


    The Health Consumers‟ Council welcomes the opportunity to comment on this draft

    legislation. We have concerns about the purpose of the Bill being unclear as though the Healthcare Identifiers are an end in themselves, rather than a means to an end. In addition we are concerned that the Disclosure and Uses for other purposes does not provide adequate protection for patients.

    Detailed Response

    Section 3 Purpose

    The purpose of this Bill is stated in subsection 3(1) of the Exposure Draft Bill as “to provide a way of ensuring that a person who provides or receives healthcare is correctly matched to health information that is created when healthcare is provided”. The Health Consumers‟

    Council considers that the purpose of the Act should also state the reasons why it is considered necessary to ensure that a person who provides or receives healthcare is correctly matched to health information, namely:

    ; for the purpose of communication between healthcare recipients and healthcare

    providers, and between healthcare providers, as part of providing healthcare to a

    healthcare recipient.


    ABN: 87 841 350 116 GPO Box C134 Perth WA 6839

    Without including the reasons why it is necessary to match healthcare recipients to health information in the stated purpose of the Bill, it is open for the Bill to be interpreted more broadly than it is intended. For example, the matching of healthcare recipients to health information may be interpreted as having a general purpose of enabling the use or disclosure of a person‟s health information, and this is entirely inconsistent with the information we

    have received on the background and context for the Bill.

    Section 15 Disclosure and uses for other purposes

    This section provides for the collection, use and disclosure of healthcare identifiers for the purposes of communicating or managing information as part of:

    ; the provision of healthcare to a healthcare recipient; or

    ; the management, funding, monitoring or evaluation of healthcare; or

    ; the conduct of health or medical research that has been approved by a Human

    Research Ethics Committee.

    The Health Consumers Council acknowledges that the Note to section 15 states that this part authorises the use and disclosure of only healthcare identifiers, and not the use or disclosure of other personal information. It is not clear from the Bill, however, whether the healthcare identifier which may be disclosed or used under section 15 will be solely the unique number assigned to a person, or whether it will include any other “identifying information” as that term is defined in the Bill. The inclusion of such identifying information may be contrary to a person‟s privacy and outside the scope of any consent given by a person, especially given the broad purposes stated in subsection 15(1) for which the healthcare identifier may be used. In the Health Consumer Council‟s view, it needs to be made clear that only the healthcare identifier number may be used and disclosed under section 15.

    Thank you for your consideration of this submission.

     Madeleine Cox Michele Kosky

     Health Consumers’ Council Board Executive Director

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