Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Patient confidentiality at risk

A centralised data base where each New Zealander's medical and mental health details will be stored in the next few months still does not have a guaranteed security system in place.

Alliance spokesperson for health, Phillida Bunkle was responding to a recent Project Champ Newsletter which admits the scheme is not yet secure, although it is asking community organisations to supply patient files to be stored.

Champ is the Information Technology Project for Community Health and Mental Health. It is part of the Information Systems Strategic Plan, set up to collect and store information on a centralised data base.

The July 1999 news letter says it is difficult to provide 'a satisfactory balance between security and access. 'It admits that 'there is an ongoing consultation with a number of users regarding the security of data and once we have the framework of a plan we will be able to enter into wider consultation.

''Only months from completion, and they haven't yet established a security system. Security should have been the first priority not the last,' said Phillida. 'My concern is that New Zealanders have no assurances government agencies like WINZ, insurance companies, and future employers won't be able to access that information.

'At present the only 'security' is the privacy act, which carries with it no monitoring or enforcement provision. 'Once you are on the computer file, you are on it for life. People will live in fear that anyone can find out about a history of mental illness.

'Practitioners in the area of mental health are very worried about this too. A psychiatrists said to me recently that patient confidentiality is to psychiatry what a sterile field is to surgery.

You can't practise without it.'

A pilot conducted in Auckland involves not only hospitals but also private mental health providers who will now have access to confidential information. This pilot is due for completion in December, but already the scheme has been extended to across the country. Instructions about recording and sending patient mental health histories are being mailed out to community organisations right now.'If safety cannot be guaranteed, the project should not proceed. The risks are too great,' said Phillida Bunkle.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Reforming Parliament’s Toxic Culture

It would be nice to think Parliament was a forum where rationality ruled – and where policies are raised and evaluated in terms of their contribution to the greater good. Obviously, it isn’t like that... More>>

Historic Assualt Allegation: Parliamentary Service Staff Member Stood Down
Rt Hon Trevor Mallard said today: “I do not want to cut across any employment or possible police investigations, but I am satisfied that the Parliamentary Service has removed a threat to the safety of women working in the Parliamentary complex." More>>


PM And FinMin's Post-Cab: Mental Health Inquiry And Budget Responsibility

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was joined by Minister of Finance Grant Robertson for the last post-cabinet press conference before Thursday's budget. The Government will also announce its delayed response to the mental health inquiry this week. More>>

Budget: New Service For Young People Leaving Care

The Wellbeing Budget contains funding to build a new nation-wide Transition Support Service which is expected to help around 3,000 young people over the next four years after it starts on July 1. More>>


Children's Commissioner: Too Many Youths On Remand In Secure Facilities

It is unacceptable that young people are being remanded to youth detention facilities on charges that have not been proven, Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft says. More>>


Media Fund: New Alliance For Local Democracy Reporting

The pilot will see eight journalists recruited to provide local democracy news to a wide array of media. Funding will come from the RNZ /NZ On Air Innovation Fund, a one-off $6m fund announced last year. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coal’s Negative Message To The School Protest

As schoolkids around the world commited to another round of protest action against climate change, the re-election of (a) the Morrison government in Australia and (b) the Modi government in India have been a kick in the teeth for future generations. More>>


Fatal 2018 Crash: Police Officer Should Not Have Engaged In Pursuit

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police officer should not have tried to stop or pursue a car thought to contain young people in Palmerston North on 28 May 2018. More>>


New Poverty Targets: Goals Overlook 174000 Children In Worst Poverty

Child Poverty Action Group is pleased to see the Government set ambitious 10-year targets for child poverty reduction, but we are disappointed not to see a target set for improving thousands of young lives where the worst of poverty is found. More>>





InfoPages News Channels