HL Deb 18 May 1998 vol 589 cc141-2WA
Earl Howe

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their most recent assessment of the progress made by NHS trusts, health authorities and GP surgeries in making their computer equipment and other systems with embedded chip technology millennium-compliant; and whether, in the light of the report published recently by Prove It 2000 Ltd., they are satisfied that sufficient resources are being directed towards appropriate remedial action within the NHS. [HL1771]

Baroness Jay of Paddington

Every health authority and National Health Service trust completed detailed Year 2000 project plans, proposals for drawing up contingency plans, and detailed inventory and budget estimates, by the deadline of 31 March 1998. Health authorities also provided an assessment of the state of readiness of general practitioner practices within their area. These returns are being subjected to detailed analysis over the next few weeks, to give a very detailed picture of the state of readiness of the NHS.

The summary information provided indicates that although, overall, good progress is being made across the NHS, a minority of NHS organisations have further work to do. Further rigorous guidance is therefore now being issued on 15 May which allows for further checks on progress. The guidance stresses that resolving the Year 2000 problem is the highest non-clinical priority for the NHS and that chief executive will be held personally accountable.

Work to date has mainly focused on determining the compliance status of systems and therefore costs expended so far have been relatively low. Most replacement or upgrade costs will not be incurred until this financial year.

In line with government policy, NHS organisations are funding the necessary remedial action from existing budgets.