With out the minister’s intervention, about 17 million Australians would have been robotically enrolled within the e-health system if they didn’t decide out by Thursday.
Mr Hunt thanked One Nation chief Pauline Hanson, who moved a profitable modification within the Senate on Wednesday to increase the deadline till January 31, for “not delaying this essential coverage change”.
“The federal government’s focus is on strengthening the security and privateness of well being data within the My Well being File system,” he mentioned.
“The Parliament is now contemplating additional amendments … My Well being File will defend and save lives.”
The opt-out system failed for the second time in eight days on Wednesday, when the Australian Digital Well being Company reported a surge in calls to its helpline and folks making an attempt to decide out on-line mentioned the web site had crashed.
One girl who tried to decide out on-line informed Fairfax Media: “I am getting an error message saying the server is overloaded.”
The movement by Senator Hanson to increase the opt-out interval was unopposed, however is just not binding on the federal government because the Home of Representatives – which isn’t sitting this week – would first need to approve it.
Opposition well being spokeswoman Catherine King mentioned Mr Hunt had been “dragged kicking and screaming” into accepting an extension to the opt-out interval.
“Minister Hunt might have applied an extension with the stroke of a pen weeks in the past,” Ms King mentioned.
“Whereas Labor would have most well-liked a 12-month extension to permit time to deal with excellent points and rebuild neighborhood belief, we’re happy with the Senate’s resolution.
“It will give Federal Parliament the time it must move further protections and safeguards.”
Mr Hunt final week agreed to 6 key amendments really useful by a Senate inquiry, however these is not going to move into regulation earlier than the opt-out deadline passes.
The modifications, which have bipartisan assist, embody elevated penalties for individuals who misuse the e-health system and a narrowing of the definition of parental duty to guard home violence victims from being tracked by way of their youngsters’s well being data.
The amendments would additionally specify that the Australian Digital Well being Company can’t delegate entry to affected person data to different entities, that well being insurers can’t entry data and that employers could not use them to discriminate in opposition to employees.
A authorities invoice enshrining the appropriate for sufferers to delete their My Well being File completely, and make sure that police could solely entry an individual’s medical historical past with a courtroom order, has been up to date with these additional amendments.
The laws had already handed within the Home of Representatives, however should return to the decrease home as soon as the amended invoice passes within the Senate, the place it’s anticipated to return up for debate on Wednesday evening.
The Senate is sitting alone this week, whereas the decrease home can have its remaining two-week sitting interval of the 12 months from November 26.
Mr Hunt has additionally promised a overview to contemplate whether or not it’s acceptable that oldsters have default entry to the data of kids aged 14 to 17, after the founding father of a free college clinic mentioned it was “too dangerous” to function underneath the My Well being File system.
Ms King mentioned her workplace had acquired “tons of of calls from individuals who can’t get by way of on-line or by telephone”.
The Australian Digital Well being Company mentioned in an announcement that the problems had been resolved and that the My Well being File helpline and web site have been “each operational”.
“We’re experiencing excessive demand, which has slowed the system down, and a few folks have skilled difficulties opting out this morning,” the company mentioned.
Dana is a federal politics reporter, protecting well being and industrial relations. Beforehand, she was a reporter for The Australian.