Malcolm Turnbull says mass withdrawals from Australia’s electronic health records will not kill the system.

An online My Health Record will be set up for every Australian unless they opt out by October 15, with thousands withdrawing amid security concerns.

‘It doesn’t need to have a particular number of people in it,’ the prime minister told Tasmanian radio station LAFM on Friday.

Mr Turnbull said the system was secure, likening it to storing information digitally rather than in a filing cabinet within a doctor’s surgery, but people were free to opt out.

‘It is very much a matter for individuals,’ he said.

Almost six million people have signed up for the digital medical history over its six years of operation.