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NHS Trusts Get Ready For The Millennium Together

Preparing for the year 2000 is currently being given a very high priority in the National Health Service. Health Services in Coventry and Warwickshire, have been working together for 18 months to ensure that patient care and safety are not unduly affected by technology problems. All possible steps to minimise the risk of problems occurring and their impact are being taken.

Special project teams have been set up in each Trust and the Health Authorities, under the direction of a Project Manager. Their remit is to deal not only with computers but, more importantly, with medical equipment, estates and the supply of goods and services. Regular meetings have been taking place between the Trust year 2000 Project Managers to share plans across the County.

By working together, we are able to ensure that plans made by one Trust link in with those of neighbouring Trusts. Co-operation means we can share good practice and help to provide the best service for local people.

The year 2000 date change could mean that certain medical devices or hospital systems may malfunction. No items of equipment, however, have been found to have problems that could put patients lives at risk. Project Managers have now identified all electronic equipment and systems within their organisations. The majority are now known to be compliant. Those that are not will either be fixed or replaced.

All Trusts/NHS organisations are preparing contingency plans which will address an increased demand for health services that may happen at the turn of the century.


The project progress is reviewed internally by each Trust through a process of regular monthly meetings and monthly reports to the Trust Boards.

All NHS Trusts and the health Authorities in Coventry and Warwickshire met the first key deadline for Year 2000 preparations set by the NHS Executive. The objective was that by 31 December 1998, all critical systems must be ready and fully tested, or detailed plans made for coping without those systems or equipment that cannot be repaired or replaces in time.

During 1999, attention has turned to ensuring that contingency plans are in place for clinical services to meet the high expected demands of a long holiday period of celebration for 1 January 2000.

Quarterly monitoring reports are returned to the Department of Health by each Trust and Health Authority, and these will become bi-monthly returns with effect from 29 May 1999.

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