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Hospitals Well Prepared for the Millennium

24 November 1999

Hospitals Well Prepared for the Millennium

THE community can be reassured that the Y2K bug will not compromise the quality of care provided by public hospitals, a just released report shows.

Ministry of Health Director-General of Health, Dr Karen Poutasi, said it was pleasing to see in a State Services Commission report released today that all public hospitals had completed business continuity plans.

"I would like to congratulate the public hospitals for their work in ensuring that they are prepared for anything the advent of the year 2000 may bring.

"They are all on track to being Y2K compliant by New Year. The State Services Commission report shows that preparation has been completed and that all public hospitals are where they should be in their readiness for Y2K.

"We believe any significant disruption to hospitals due to the Y2K bug is unlikely. The hospitals have done extensive testing and have identified and then rectified any problems.

"And their business continuity plans mean that if anything does go wrong a back-up system is in place to ensure that patient safety is not compromised.

"On top of that there is an extensive monitoring and reporting process planned for the night of New Year's Eve.

"Between now and New Year hospitals will continue to test and double check systems, ensure they have adequate staffing for what is traditionally a busy time and they will finish off their monitoring plans.

"A test to check the communication systems which will operate on New Year's Eve is being held tonight (Wednesday) involving monitoring agencies and some hospitals. This will be the second live test and the first one, overnight on September 8, went well.

"We are also pleased to see that the GPs have made progress towards becoming Y2K compliant and we encourage them to continue their preparations," Dr Poutasi said.

ENDS

For further information contact; Sue McCabe, Media Advisor, 04 496 2067 or 025 495 989 Y2K Internet address;http:// www.y2khealth.govt.nz

General Ministry of Health Internet Address;

http://www.moh.govt.nz/media.html

Extract from the State Services Commission Y2K Readiness Report;

State Sector, Public Hospitals and Local Government

The State Sector, Public Hospitals and Local Government have continued to stay ahead of large business. Whilst many have experienced slippage in their estimated completion dates only a handful consider there is much left to do. There has been considerable progress in completing business continuity plans and respondents report that preparation of these plans have been of general benefit to the organisation.

Importantly, 100% of public hospitals now have business continuity plans in place.

General Medical Practitioners

15 Following our last survey we suggested that GPs, as a vital part of our health system, needed to do much more work on Y2K. Whilst GPs have made progress over the last 2 months and have caught up with comparable SMEs, only 15% have completed a business continuity plan and 31% consider they do not need such a plan. The Ministry of Health continues to work with GPs to emphasise both the importance of such plans and the simple steps necessary to prepare them.

ENDS

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