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Hospital Equipment Ready For The Y2K

The public can be reassured that any hospital medical devices have now been thoroughly checked and re-tested for susceptibility to the Y2K computer bug.

The Ministry of Health's Director-General, Dr Karen Poutasi, said over the past two years hospital-based medical devices have been comprehensively tested. The few that had failed - on average about four percent - had either been fixed, replaced or put to one side not to be used.

"We are confident that the safety of patients in hospitals will not be compromised by any equipment becoming faulty due to the Y2K bug. Hospitals are to be commended for their commitment in working to check all medical equipment and to having contingency plans in place."

Dr Poutasi said the low failure rate was consistent with that found in hospitals in other countries. It was a far lower failure rate than had been predicted prior to the extensive testing, she said.

"And I think there is still an incorrect public perception that this is an area of concern at New Year. The tests carried out on equipment had been thorough and comprehensive."

The few failures were across the board rather than in any particular type of equipment.

Dr Poutasi said hospitals were making steady progress to ensure it would be business as usual overnight on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Contingency plans are being tested to ensure that any unpredicted failures will be managed.

"We are testing the systems of communication overnight tonight (September 8/9). We are not expecting any problems but it is a good chance to put the back up communication channels into practice."

ENDS

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