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Ministry of Health distributes tools for Y2K

The Ministry of Health this week distributed Y2K contingency planning booklets to GPs and rest homes throughout the country.

More than 2500 GPs this week received the Ministry of Health booklet 'The New Millennium and Contingency Planning for General Practitioners', designed to help GPs prepare for the new millennium. A thousand copies of a similar booklet, 'Rest Home - Year 2000 Contingency Planning', went out to rest home owners.

Director General of Health Dr Karen Poutasi said both booklets provide good information to help GPs and rest home owners prepare for possible disruptions in the new millennium.

"The Year 2000 is something we all have to work towards. While the Ministry of Health is not directly responsible for these agencies, we felt it was important that they had good information at hand - we have the expertise to be able to provide that."

The booklets have been developed from a similar publication sent out earlier this year to HHSs and has had input from a range of people active in the sector.

"These publications are intended as a resource for those yet to finalise contingency plans for the Year 2000. They provide a guide to help these organisations approach the matter systematically and appropriately to ensure the continuity of business as usual.

"There is no single correct process for managing the Year 2000 but the more thoroughly people are prepared in advance the better the reaction will be should difficulties arise - whether it be an alarm clock not working or a power cut.

"These publications look at generic contingency planning and so should be helpful for problems which might occur at any time - not just for the Year 2000," says Dr Poutasi.

Most health organisations, both public and private, have been actively preparing for the arrival of the Year 2000 for the last few years.

"HHSs are particularly important, being large and complex organisations with a high dependence on computers and outside services like electricity and water. But at this point, our hospitals have made good progress; they are well organised and are on track to be fully prepared for the end of this year.

"In general, the health sector in New Zealand is well up with preparations elsewhere in the world and no significant year end disruption is expected."

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