Date published: 
17 July 2018
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

17 July 2018



E&OE…



Topics: My Health Record; private insurance; new mental health and medical research funding for South Australia.



LEON BYNER:

Let me introduce you to the Health Minister for Australia, Greg Hunt. Greg thank you for joining us this morning.



GREG HUNT:

Good morning, Leon it’s a pleasure to be here.



LEON BYNER:

If you've got a health question, 8223 0000 You are in a unique position where you can ask the top - no minders, no PAs just the person concerned that the people put there in the parliament who's a minister.



I want to ask you about this whole business of My Health and the privacy aspect. We are saying to people, we’re going to document on a little device all your information so that your GP or health care professional can have a look at it, and get a real global view of your health. That’s all very nice but a lot of people say no, I don’t want the privacy risk.



And they are having a hell of a time Minister, trying to get off the list and say I don’t want this. The kinds of feedbacks we’re getting at the moment, and I’ve also had a good look on social media, a couple of people have said I did it in five minutes. They must have been lucky because everybody else is saying it’s taking a couple of hours. Why didn’t we do it the other way around? Why didn’t we say to people opt in if you want rather than opt out?



GREG HUNT:

Well this is actually about giving people control for the first time over their own story, their own health records. The fundamental right is for people to have access to their own health record and my view and the unanimous view of all the states, the unanimous view of the medial groups is that for the first time every Australia should have the right to own and access their own material and to control who has access to it.



And in the same way that you're able to look up other records online with regards to your personal finances, now for the first time we'll be able to access our own medical records. And it's the view that everybody should have that right and interestingly they can have complete control whether or not a record is created. They can have their record taken down. They can ensure that documents are on or not on. And also exactly who has access or doesn't have access.



Why we're doing all of this of course is it's about saving lives, preventing medical misadventure where people don't necessarily know their medicines, where doctors might not realise that there's a penicillin allergy, where if you're being admitted to hospital you can very quickly see somebody's history so as they get the right lifesaving treatment at the right time.



LEON BYNER:

What is the intention of this policy where you can opt out? How long should the process take as opposed to what people are reporting?



GREG HUNT:

Look it’s something which should be able to be done very quickly. You can do it online, by phone or in terms of paper.



LEON BYNER:

Are you getting a response you didn't think? In other words, more people trying to do it at the same time?



GREG HUNT:

Yesterday was the first day for the opt out which means that your record won't be created if you don't want it to be created. But at any rate, it still won't be created during the course of the next three months and so there's three months to do that, but then there's also forever. At any time, people can say I don't want that record. So it's actually a permanent process where…



LEON BYNER:

So how long should it take? Five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes?



GREG HUNT:

People should be able to do it within a 10 to 15-minute period if not within five minutes and that's why there's a phone service as well. I think yesterday there was a significant amount of publicity so it took longer and I accept that, than it could and should have taken. But by calling in, by doing it online, or by doing it through paper you can cover everybody. But why is this being done? It's to give people control and access over their own records in the same way that we have access over so many- so much other information.



All of this material exists at present. The only people who don't have access to it are the patients. So at the moment whether it's your Medicare, your PBS records, your GP files, your hospital admissions, all of that exists. Now, for the first time you'll have access to it and complete control over whether it's created or whether anybody else has access to it. And most importantly it's about saving lives and protecting lives by giving people the ability to control their own data and medicines.



LEON BYNER:

Let's talk to Josie. Josie, you're talking to Minister Greg Hunt.



JOSIE:

Hello, look I have a question. Despite the fact I was waiting on the phone for quite a long time yesterday, when I did get through I asked for a couple of forms to be sent because I've got people that can't supply identification because they don't drive or they don't have a passport. And when I asked for forms to be sent out I was told they can't do it.



I live in Adelaide and I was told I would have to go to Port Neill post office to get a form. There’s no form on the internet to give these people. I think it's very difficult because people that don't have computers can't look up the myGov register- if they don’t have a myGov account, they can’t look up these records. There’s a lot of people that don't have computers.



GREG HUNT:

So what we'll do is we'll get your details. I'll have the Digital Health Agency call you if you provide that to Leon’s producer.



LEON BYNER:

Josie, this is good, you hold the line for the sec, we’ll get that.



GREG HUNT:

We’ll respond in real time.



LEON BYNER:

But she’s making a pretty fair point, isn’t she? So what are people supposed to do in that scenario?



GREG HUNT:

The critical thing is we can arrange to have material sent out.



LEON BYNER:

But why is she being told we can’t?



GREG HUNT:

I’ll have to check that. The answer is there are three simply ways to opt out but I would encourage people and it's a choice for everybody to strongly consider it. There are six million Australians who currently have a My Health Record and what they are finding is they can see their hospital summaries, they can see their medicines. Many people don't know which particular medicine. They may not know what their children are on. So it's about that information and ultimately that saves lives.



LEON BYNER:

We're talking with the Health Minister Greg Hunt in the studio. Let's talk to Patricia. Patricia, you're talking to Minister Hunt.



PATRICIA:

Hello Minister Hunt.



GREG HUNT:

Hi Patricia.



PATRICIA:

Look, I can’t recommend this strongly enough. I was in Melbourne, I had someone approached me once, I think I was in a Centrelink facility and somebody approached me and said look, would you like to go on this?



This was ages ago and I said yes, I thought that sounded like a very sound thing. There have been two occasions when it benefited me. I was in Melbourne, I was unwell staying with my son. I went to a doctor near him. They asked me all of the relevant questions. Some of them I could answer, some of them I couldn’t.



This person was able to go online and find all of my medical records and change one of the medications that I was on for blood pressure. To me, it’s a no-brainer. Why would people not want their medical records there, that people can see in an emergency? I don’t understand it.



LEON BYNER:

Patricia, thank you for raising that side of it. And so for you, it really helped you, didn’t it?



PATRICIA:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And I can see- I mean even my own doctor that I'm going to now, asked me once about something that happened 10 years ago and she was able to find that just by going to the computer and she said oh yes, here it is here, when you were in hospital 10 years ago.



I wouldn’t have remembered that actually. So I think it's wonderful and I commend the government or any government, which ever, that's doing this. I think it is going to save lives and I just plead with people not to be afraid of it. I can’t see what bogeyman is going to access your health files.



LEON BYNER:

Thanks Patricia, good to talk to you. Yeah I think people are just a bit sensitive about privacy and those sorts of things.



GREG HUNT:

Well it is military-grade security. It's monitored with a 24-hour cybersecurity centre, but most importantly…



LEON BYNER:

Like the ANU?



GREG HUNT:

No, no, this is- it's actually been tested by shall we say some of the very senior defence and military cyber security organisations…



LEON BYNER:

I want to just move on to a couple of other important health issues with you and I want to get to why you're here as well. Firstly, the funds as of next year- middle of next year, we're changing this whole system to a series of charts, if you like or a pyramid.



GREG HUNT:

Private health.



LEON BYNER:

Yeah and we spoke to Dr Rachel David yesterday from the Private Health Funds and we talked about first of all the apparent largesse that had been a big story of the media broken by News Limited about the fact that there were quite a lot of executives, more than anywhere else in the world from Australia, that were going on these luxury trips or seminars. Now, you told me something this morning that I think the people ought to know.



GREG HUNT:

Yes, so this story was given to the journalists by the ALP. We know because they were ringing around the night before it was published to say to people ‘hey look at this, there are some executives traveling overseas’.



What they withheld, because there's no way I can believe that the journalists would have withheld this, what they withheld was the fact that the unions travelled en masse to this conference including the president of the Queensland Labor Party. So yesterday we had Bill Shorten knowingly – knowingly - attacking people whilst remaining silent about a cover up.



And this is happening at the same time as they're trying to do a secret deal with union mates in funds around Australia, the very same people to carve them out of their attack on private health insurance. So at the end of the day the bottom line here is you just don't trust Bill Shorten.



LEON BYNER:

Now, I've got a question here about these different levels of cover. Now we know that maternity has been singled out and a lot of women believe it's discriminatory and I don't disagree with that proposition. But the problem is if you're a mature person, say, and you're not going to need maternity services for reasons that are pretty obvious, if you want to atrophy that and get rid of it, there'll be other things packaged with it that you can't separate.



So in other words if you want hip and other replacements you might find that it's actually put up in the same area or package as maternity. So, it's all very well to say, well, don’t do maternity but if you don't you might find that you're losing a lot of other services you'd want. Now, that's not satisfactory surely, Minister, is it?



GREG HUNT:

So the critical thing that's happening here because private health is very complex for everybody and there will be so many listeners who'll be thinking, gosh I've struggled to understand what's in and what's out. And frankly in some cases I'm not sure it's been as transparent as it could have been.



What we're doing is making sure that every single policyholder will for the first time have one page, what's in what's out, exactly what's in what's out. And so you can choose and some packages will include different items. So you might want the ability to have hip and knee replacements but not other things and other packages will have pregnancy and you might want that but not other things. And for the first time you'll be able to see really clearly and so, dramatic simplification making it easier for people.



LEON BYNER:

Now another point, you're going to spend over a million dollars on mental health in Mayo. What is it that Mayo needs in mental health that would be unique from other electorates? The first answer would obviously be there’s a by-election on, but we’ll put that aside. What is unique for the Mayo electorate in mental health that wouldn't be the same or similar elsewhere?



GREG HUNT:

So it's not just Mayo but it's primarily focused in Kangaroo Island, the Fleurieu Peninsula and the Adelaide Hills. And it's about rural and regional areas. And so, it will expand over other parts of South Australia, about $1.2 million…



LEON BYNER:

What are you going to spend it on, specifically?



GREG HUNT:

In particular it will be additional psychological services through what's called the Primary Health Networks. So, giving people access to more psychological services for anxiety, depression, it could be bipolar, it could be suicidality…



LEON BYNER:

When does this start?



GREG HUNT:

We're making the money available immediately and so during the course of this financial year. And that should see an additional 5000 services that we’ll be able to support. So, it will make a big difference to many people who need that additional support in rural...



LEON BYNER:

Alright, thanks for coming in. Just quickly you’re meeting with Stephen Wade today, anything you're going to tell him that'll make him smile?



GREG HUNT:

I think so, $6.1 million for medical research in South Australia. Front page of today's Advertiser, brilliant medical research to save women from breast cancer, we're adding to that, with support for beating bowel cancer with support for doing tests to ensure that mums don't have pre-term babies, which means that they have more time to develop, therefore they are more likely to be born healthy. Couldn't be more important, great collaborative project. South Australia and the Australian Government, $6 million for beating cancer and helping beautiful little babies.



LEON BYNER:

Thanks for coming in.



GREG HUNT:

Pleasure.



LEON BYNER:

Talk soon. That’s the Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt on 5AA.



(ENDS)


Authorised by Greg Hunt MP, Liberal Party of Australia, Hastings, Victoria.