Source: ABC News. Author: Jackson Gothe-Snape
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has extended the deadline for opting out of the Government's contentious My Health Record system.
He confirmed the delay on Twitter within hours of the opt-out website suffering issues and the Senate agreeing to an extension.
"The opt-out period will be extended until January 31, 2019, however, it's important to note that people can opt-out at any time," he said.
The opt-out website suffered issues on Wednesday morning as Australians tried to remove themselves from the scheme ahead of the previous deadline, which was set to expire at 3:00am (AEDT) on Friday.
The Senate is currently debating the legislation, but already agreed to extend the opt-out deadline to the end of January.
The amendment needed to return to the House of Representatives to be formally adopted into law, but Mr Hunt intervened to extend the cut-off.
Every Australian with a Medicare card will automatically be given a digital record containing their medical history unless they opt out before the deadline.
The site appeared to be unavailable to some users on Wednesday morning. It became available again at approximately 12.30pm.
There have also been complaints about difficulties opting out via telephone.
But the agency responsible for My Health insisted the website and telephone helpline were both "operational".
"We are experiencing high demand, which has slowed the system down, and some people have experienced difficulties opting out this morning," an Australian Digital Health Agency spokesperson said in a statement.
"These issues have now been resolved.
"The agency anticipated higher call volumes and has increased the number of helpline operators available to support callers."