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NTPHN Community Engagement Officer Shirley Spicer and AMSANT Community Engagement Coordinator Mae Morrison at the Sunrise Region Health Service office.
24 October 2018

The Australian Digital Health Agency and Australia’s 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are continuing their efforts to ensure all Australians are able to make an informed decision about My Health Record.

In Northern Australia, the Northern Territory PHN (NTPHN) has partnered with the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) to reach communities in remote and rural areas.

NTPHN Community Engagement Officer Shirley Spicer and AMSANT Community Engagement Coordinator Mae Morrison recently travelled to remote the Northern Territory communities of Barunga, Jilkminggan, Mataranka, Ngukurr, Minyerri, Wugularr, and the cattle stations of Warrigundu in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Shirley and Mae spoke to Wugularr residents Loretta George and Ray Laragia, who said that My Health Record is important because “our medicine follows us where ever we go, because we travel a lot”.

Minyerri Health Centre Manager Paul Ishiguchi agreed and said that people often travel for ceremonies and family visits, and they need to be able to share their records with health clinics in different communities.

“The Minyerri Health Centre door is also open to non-Minyerri residents, such as pastoral, contractors, fishermen, miners and travellers who need to access the clinic for medical attention. It's important that they are registered or open to being registered and sharing their medical records,” Mr Ishiguchi said.

Barunga Health Centre Senior Administrator Ruth Kelly said that local festivals in Northern Australia can attract visitors from other communities.

“When we have our yearly Barunga Festival, there is a big mob of grey nomads and interstate travellers who come to the clinic, and when they need medical attention My Health Record makes our job easier.”

Barunga Health Centre Manager Peter Wordsworth also sees the benefit of My Health Record for local communities.

“Opt-out is not an option. It’s only opt in for us,” Mr Wordsworth said.