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My Health Record: What Young Carers Need to Know

My Health Record is an online portal for all of a person’s health records by the Australian government; everyone in Australia automatically has one now however, people aged 14 and over can choose to opt out by the 15th of November 2018.

My Health Record has the potential to give people, including teenagers, more control over who can see their health information. Young carers could also benefit from My Health Record, especially if they are either caring for a parent or guardian or if they’re involved with the medical appointments of the person that they care for.

The My Health Record portal stores a person’s:
  • medical conditions
  • medicines
  • test results
  • allergies
  • immunisations and
  • the past 2 years’ worth of Medicare claims and
  • prescribed medications  (PBS)

All of this information can be accessed through My Health Record by the person, their parents or guardians and healthcare professionals in the person’s local area.

A person can control the privacy of their own My Health Record, though, from the age of 14. People can ask their healthcare professional not to upload a clinical document or test result to their record. Even with a My Health Record, healthcare providers still have to keep your relationship confidential. By using a myGov account, a person can remove their Medicare, prescribed medications and immunisation info and manage their My Health Record’s privacy settings.   

Parents and guardians of young people under 18 can:

  • register you for a My Health Record if they want you to have one
  • or opt you out of a My Health Record if they don’t want you to have one
  • and view and manage your My Health Record (other than your Medicare information)

Once a person turns 14 they can choose to not have their parent or guardian act on their behalf, though, by managing their My Health Record settings at their myGov account. Read the “Info for 14 to 17 year olds” information sheet below for more instructions on how to do this. If a person is under 14 and they have a letter from a healthcare professional prove that they are a “mature minor” they can also do this. Once a person turns 18, their parent’s or guardian’s access to their My Health Record will automatically be cancelled.

For young carers, there are a few benefits to the My Health Record.

One, it could help young carers whose parent or guardian has a health condition that makes it difficult for them to maintain their child’s records. A young carer aged 14 and above or who has been proven to be a “mature minor” could take control of their own My Health Record. At the same time, a young person can still choose to make this parent or guardian their “nominated representative.”

Many young carers help with medical appointments, medications and specialised treatment of the person that they care for but face the challenges of not being recognised by healthcare providers as a carer and being left out of communication because of their age.

Medical staff do not always understand that young carers are key in providing care at home, have the knowledge about medication and recognise symptoms if the health condition of the care recipient deteriorates. -

Young Carers Manual, Carers Australia, 2007

Another benefit to young carers is that they can be nominated to look after the My Health Record of the person that they care for. To get this authorisation, the young carer needs a letter from a doctor (registered General Practitioner) stating that the person they care for isn’t able to monitor their own My Health Record. They then need to contact the My Health Record organisation and have their application assessed.

Young carers who need some help or who would like to know more, can call the My Health Record helpline on 1800 723 471. More information can also be found in the fact sheets below and at . If a young carer aged 14 and over, or who is a mature minor, would like to completely opt out of having a My Health Record, they can do this by visiting the website or calling the helpline.

News Just In! - (updated 15/11/18)

The Australian Government has extended the opt-out date until 31st January 2019, responding to some questions about how safe and secure people's information will be. The Government is going to tighten their security and make the punishment for breaking security laws even stricter. A Media Statement was published yesterday - read it below, for more info.