Credit card applications have been withdrawn from Australia’s national health insurance scheme, after a group of doctors expressed concerns over the privacy of the data collected by the system.
The National Health Care Protection Agency (NHPA) said it had received the advice of the Association of Medical Practitioners of Australia (AMPA) that it was not appropriate for individuals to apply for credit card data, after some of its members contacted the NHPA.
A letter to the NHPA said the association had made a number of recommendations for the program, including providing information on which doctors are eligible to sign up, as well as a process for people to review their applications.
In a statement, the NHPMA said it was making “considerable changes to the program to make it more transparent and secure”.
But it said it did not believe the program was being adequately managed and was recommending that all applicants be contacted via the National Health Service Portal (NHSP).
“We have not yet received the NHSP’s response, but we are in contact with NHSP and will be following up with them when we do,” the NHPOA said.
The NHSP said it received a number other letters from members of the public, which it said were “very concerned about the privacy implications of the NHPHP program”.
The NHPA said it welcomed the NHPLA’s decision to withdraw credit card applicants, but urged people to apply through their GP or primary care provider, rather than the NHPG website.
“It’s important to note that we do not believe there is any evidence that the NHPPP is a ‘better’ option for people seeking to obtain health care services,” the association said in a statement.
“This is not a matter for the NHPUA, the NHPPA or the NHMP to resolve.”
The NHPUH said it would provide information to the public about the NHPRP, which provides advice on the NHHP and NHPG.
It also said it intended to review the NHPS website “in the near future”.