National patient database should not be made compulsory before public consultation

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By: Ravi Philemon/

The Government may soon make it compulsory for even private General Practitioners to upload your private medical information into a Central Government System. Patients may have no recourse to opt-out.

The Government has acknowledged that concerns have been raised over privacy issues, but said that sensitive information will be tucked away. It said that only doctors treating the patients will have access to private information, and that too by entering their medical license number into the system.

But we all know that hacking is a real concern in this day and age.

People go to private doctors for various reasons. One main reason could be because they do not want their medical conditions to be listed in the public healthcare system, as this may come back to haunt them at the most unfortunate of times.

The Government has said that it will consult stakeholders (read: medical doctors / healthcare institutions) before implementing the system.

But I am of the opinion that on a matter like this, they should consult the general public and only implement it if the majority agree with it.

Even if they decide to implement it because there is support from the majority of the general public, they should provide a choice to opt-out for patients who don’t want their records to be in the government system.

We have a precedent for this – the HOTA (Human Organ Transplant Act) which provides for those who don’t want to be part of that system to opt-out of it (albeit with consequences).

This is an Orwellian move by the Government. They should tread with extreme caution with the Healthcare Services Bill.

Patient-confidentiality is very important and that should not be compromised to create the National Electronic Health Record system, in the guise of providing better patient-care.

This article first appeared on Mr Philemon’s Facebook page. It has been re-published on The Independent with permission.

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9 comments

  1. Edwin Kwan says:

    Comments written by rightist or leftist who have no understanding of overall public health system and policy. Better do more research before claiming opt in or out.

  2. If there is an ailment in one’s private medical records that is not yet captured in Singhealth’s or NHG’s databases, will it be used as an excuse to levy a higher premium under Medishield Life?

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