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Medical Devices in the Home and Y2K

PEOPLE with medical devices in their homes or those needing kidney dialysis should be thinking carefully about their plans for the festive season, says the Ministry of Health.

Y2K project leader Steve Brazier said there had been no indication that kidney dialysis machines and common domestic medical devices like oxygen machines and ventilators would be affected by the date ticking over to the year 2000.

"The manufacturers, hospitals or providers of medical equipment have tested these types of equipment and should also have contacted all users to advise them of the situation. But if people have any concerns, they should check with their provider or medical advisor to clarify the situation."

People on kidney dialysis should check their treatment dates over the festive season and consider altering them to avoid the days immediately following New Year when disruption was possible, Mr Brazier said.

"However, we are not expecting any problems and in the unlikely event of the Y2K bug affecting hospitals, they have tried and tested back-up plans to ensure patient safety.

"Some hospitals in popular holiday areas are also expecting heavy demand on their services over the festive season. But this occurs every year and they are prepared for it."

People using medical devices should also inform their health service if they intended holidaying over the holiday period, so health authorities could help them if necessary, Mr Brazier said.

"People who need medical devices take priority in the unlikely event of a electricity cut and would be be given access to hospital services if necessary. So they should inform hospitals in their holiday areas of their location."

ENDS


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