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Government silent on data bank of patients' prescription records



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

P.0. BOX 1206, BOORAOOON, W.A. 6164 SUITE 8, GATEWAY MELVILLE CITY CENTRE

BOORAGOON TEL. (09) 364 5554, (062) 77 4169 FAX: (09) 364 9971

PETER SHAC K. M.P.

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR TANGNEY MEDIA RELEASE.

s h a d o w m in is t e r f o r h e a l t h 22nd DECEMBER, 1989. 80/89 .

GOVERNMENT SILENT ON DATA BANK OF PATIENTS' PRESCRIPTION RECORDS

"The Government's silence on the Health Insurance Commission's plans to create a centralised computer data bank of personal prescription records is ominous.

"Mindful of the HIC's part in the Australia Card, pharmacists have described the collection of sensitive confidential information about patients' medication records as heralding the re-birth of that ill-fated idea.

"This makes it all the more imperative that the Government states its position clearly and unequivocally.

"In the lead up to an election it is obviously in the Government's interests to act without delay to answer questions on this issue, to do otherwise could be to incur the wrath of those millions of Australians who campaigned so vigorously to have the Australia

Card thrown out.

"The Minister responsible for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Mr Peter Staples, has a clear duty to inform the community just where the Government stands on this issue.

"Questions which the Minister must answer include:

. whether plans advanced in the HIC's October 30 paper entitled 'Strategy Proposal for the Management of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Program' have been endorsed by the Government; and,

. whether the Government has approved funding for the computer equipment which was the subject of a tender advertised on November 3.

"We are aware that Senator Cook told the Senate on November 29 that the HIC had issued a discussion paper about this matter before it proceeded, but draw attention to the fact that there is only a three day interval between the date on that paper and the date of the advertisement of tenders closing on November 20.

"We are also aware that the closing of tenders coincided with the deadline given to The Pharmacy Guild for comment on the matter.

"There are, therefore, reasonable grounds for questioning whether the discussion paper represents a genuine attempt to gather views on this issue or is little more than a ploy on the part of the Government to try and appear to be doing the right thing.

"There are enough problems in the pharmacy area at present without them being added to in this way, so it is therefore imperative that the Minister clarifies this issue immediately."

Contact: Peter Shack (062) 77 4169 / (09) 364 5554. COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH