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Catholic Health cautions against parent access to teen medical visits

Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan has said the Bill before Parliament intended to give parents access to information about their children's medical consultations raises important issues that require further discussion before legislation is enacted.

Parents and legal guardians will be able to access, by request, information held by the Health Insurance Commission (HIC) about their children aged under 16 years with the Health Legislation Amendment (Parental Access to Information) Bill 2004 to be implemented by the Australian Government.

"We are advised that teenagers visit doctors for a range of sensitive and complex conditions, such as depression, sexual abuse, mental trauma and domestic violence," he said.

"The issue is not whether properly functioning families need information to assist their teenagers, it is whether poorly drafted legislation will exacerbate the very causes which lead some teenagers to seek help outside the family."

Mr Sullivan said the community should not lose sight of the need for better mental health and youth health support services, as the rates of youth suicide "are still a disaster".

CHA Calls For An Informed Public Discussion, Not Political Point Scoring Over Parental Access to Teenagers' Medical Visits (Catholic Health Australia 10/6/04)

Doctors warn on right to know (Sydney Morning Herald 11/6/04)
Catholic Health Australia
Increased access to HIC information via the Health Legislation Amendment (Parental Access to Information) Bill 2004 - Fact Sheet 5, Hon Tony Abbott MHR Minister for Health and Ageing
Health Legislation Amendment (Parental Access to Information) Bill 2003 - National Divisions Youth Alliance

11 Jun 2004