CHILDREN’S HEALTH PUT AT RISK DUE TO PROPOSED GOVERNMENT CHANGES

April 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Health Blog

Do You Think a 14yo Is Mature Enough To Take Complete Responsibility For Their Own Health?

I’ve been helping teens improve their health and wellbeing for many years and its always a pleasure to do so but I haven’t come across too many 14 year olds that have been capable of:

* Knowing how to purchase the healthiest foods possible when doing the grocery shopping.

* Understanding the best ways to prepare those foods so they provide the most nutrients.

* Being capable of paying for all their own health, dental and medical expenses as well as their clothing, school fees and all other costs needed for everyday life.

* Understanding their hormonal health, bodily changes and all of the other changes they experience at that time of their life.

* Realizing the dangers of teenage sex or drugs (including certain prescribed drugs).

* Knowing the causes and best treatments for their acne, so-called ‘growing pains’ in their legs and other common health issues that may occur during this phase of their lives.

* Having a handle on their rollercoaster emotions ……….

And that’s WHY teenagers need PARENTS to be responsible for their health & welfare.

SO I WAS CONCERNED WHEN I READ THIS REPORT:

Parents want to see health files

Andrew Tillett
Canberra,
The West Australian
January 15, 2012

 

A family group has attacked plans to allow children as young as 14 to stop their parents from accessing their personal electronic health records.

Patients will be given the option of signing up for the electronic records from July in one of the Gillard Government’s key health reforms.

The records are designed to keep details of a patient’s medical history together, making it easier for GPs, specialists and other health workers to share information, see past treatments and drug prescriptions and potentially reduce medical errors.

Patients will control how much information is shared and who it is shared with.

Under the plan, when a child turns 14, they will be given control of their records and can deny their parent or guardian access to the file.

When they turn 18, the parent will automatically lose access.

But Australian Family Association spokeswoman Terri Kelleher said parents had a right to know about the health of their child.

“It is just another blow to parental authority,” she said. “It’s clear that teenagers need their family and guidance from their parents. When something goes wrong, who is always blamed? The parents.”

Consumer Health Forum chief Carol Bennett said the issue of parental oversight had sparked intense debate among members. She said 14 was a logical age to give children control of their records because that was the age they could get their own Medicare card.

Children could already get treated by doctors, such as being prescribed the pill, without parental knowledge. As proposed, some information the patient may not want to share – such as an abortion – could be permanently deleted. But Ms Bennett said all information should be kept on file but easily able to be hidden because it could one day be relevant when a patient needed treatment.

She also warned the Government needed to make electronic health records an opt-out system – where patients needed to say they did not want a record – instead of the opt-in system being proposed.

A spokeswoman for Acting Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the Government had decided on its access rules for teenagers following extensive consultation with stakeholders and interest groups.

A Senate inquiry into the electronic health records legislation is expected to report by the end of next month.

Sar’s comment:

Until teens can always act responsibly when life throws challenges their way and until they have the wisdom that only age and life experience can bring – for their own safety – teenagers’ parents should still be able to discuss health matters with their children’s doctor, naturopath or other health practitioner and have access to their child’s medical records until they turn 18yo.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think that a 14yo child is capable of taking full responsibility for their own health?

Yours In Great Health,
Sar Rooney BHSc., ND., DC., DASc., GDSc. (Hons), MATMS, MNHAA, MHATONaturopathic Medicine Practitioner, Lecturer, Researcher

 

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Sar Rooney is a Naturopathic Medicine Practitioner specialising in Anxiety and Depression |Women’s Health| Hormonal Imbalances | Thyroid Disorders | Digestive Health | Genetic Polymorphisms (MTHFR/Pyroluria) | Nutritional Medicine | Optimal Wellness & Disease Prevention 

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