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The Nova Scotia Legislature (via Facebook)

Debate continues on provincial access to private health records

By Kevin Northup Mar 26, 2024 | 12:12 PM

A sexual assault survivor says the province needs to be careful with access to private medical records.

Proposed changes to legislation would grant the health minister access to the files for gathering data to improve the healthcare system.

Carrie Smith from Digby told the Law Amendments Committee that the public needs to have trust to receive safe healthcare.

“They also need privacy. Giving custodians access to detailed patient records without patient consent should not be a best practice,” said an emotional Smith.

Doctors Nova Scotia has spoken out against the changes, calling them too broad.

Smith also said, it may have a negative effect on patients that have to report incidents to police.

“Knowing that details of those reports could be accessed outside that circle of care could deter patients from seeking healthcare or needed treatments.”

Minister Michelle Thompson says she’s only interested in aggregate data, not in people’s personal information.

The amendments to the Personal Health Information Act will go back to the legislature for more debate and final reading.