Medical data protection bill to be tabled in parliament soon

A bill that will ensure the protection of medical data for persons in Guyana will be laid in Parliament within the coming weeks.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, disclosed the information at the launch of the Family Health Manual at the Ministry of Health, Brickdam, on Tuesday.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony

He told persons gathered for the launch that the bill was written as part of the government’s efforts to secure persons’ data, even as Guyana transitions to an electronic health record system.

“If we are going to do electronic health records, then people’s information must be kept confidential. So, you can’t go and steal people’s information,” he said.

The legislation outlines hefty fines for persons found guilty of any breach of confidentiality, ranging from a minimum of 20 million dollars, all the way up to 100 million dollars.

It also provides for persons to face imprisonment for offences under the act.

Minister Anthony said that the bill and its consequences serve as a warning to everyone that as healthcare workers, it is pertinent to ensure the protection of patients’ data.

The government intends to lay the Data Protection Bill 2023 in the National Assembly after it engages key stakeholders.

It is currently conducting consultations with several stakeholder organisations following which, recommendations will be taken on board to enhance the legislation.

The bill will help to regulate the collection, storage, processing, use, and dissemination of personal data, all in a private manner. It will consider an individual’s right to privacy and will aid in aligning Guyana with the best international practices on data protection and privacy.