Greens secure improvements to Health Information Sharing Bill


The Victorian Greens have secured improvements to the Health Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill 2023 following constructive negotiations with the Victorian Government.

Victoria’s health workers urgently need this bill which will allow public hospital nurses and doctors quick access to health summaries from other public hospitals, via a shared health information platform.

This will enable them to find critical information like allergies, medication and past surgery and diagnoses, without having to phone other hospitals and wait for emails or faxes.

Health staff currently spend time and money waiting for information and repeating unnecessary blood tests and scans, and sometimes catastrophic medical errors can result.

But trust is also important for good health care, and patients need to have confidence their information will be protected.

That’s why the Greens negotiated with the Government, to improve privacy protection and ensure the community can trust the system, while allowing it to give maximum benefit to our struggling public hospital system.

As a result of these negotiations, the Greens have secured amendments to mandate in legislation a Privacy Management Framework that will:

  • Protect the identity of patients who may be at risk of harm, including survivors of family violence.
  • Guarantee patients will be able to obtain information on who has accessed their health information.
  • Provide a process to safeguard more sensitive health information.

The Greens have also secured the establishment of an independent review of the system to ensure it's doing its job and managing privacy concerns appropriately. 

Victorian Greens acting health spokesperson, Dr Tim Read, said he was pleased with the outcome of the Greens’ negotiations with the Government, and pending further assurances from the Government on matters regarding privacy, patient access, and resourcing, said the party looked forward to supporting the bill when it comes to a vote later this week.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens acting health spokesperson, Dr Tim Read:

“Our public hospital system is struggling with staff shortages and delays, but giving them this system will mean staff waste less time on the phone and can spend more time seeing patients.

"But trust is also important and patients need to have confidence their information will be protected.

"That's why the Greens have secured a number of improvements to the bill, including mandating a privacy management framework that will address issues such as information security and patient access to information.”