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Nhs: Millennium Compliance

Volume 590: debated on Monday 1 June 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 18 May (

WA 141–2), what is the "further rigorous guidance" about work not yet done on the year 2000 problem on computers, issued to NHS organisations on 15 May; and [HL2012]

Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 18 May ( WA 141–2), when they expect the detailed picture of the state of readiness of the NHS to deal with the year 2000 problem on computers to be available to Ministers: and whether it will be made available to Parliament. [HL2013]

For the National Health Service in England, the "rigorous" guidance was issued on 15 May in the form of a Health Service Circular HSC 1998/091, copies of which are available in the Library. This will ensure that all health authorities and NHS trusts are fully accountable for their progress towards Year 2000 compliance and for strengthened monitoring arrangements to enable the NHS Executive to check progress. The guidance comes after progress updates to March this year were received from every NHS trust and health authority.Chief Executives of health authorities and NHS trusts are required to continue to give their personal attention to their organisation's programme of action to deal with the Year 2000 problem, dealing with it as the highest non-clinical priority.The guidance includes: a new quarterly reporting procedure from June 1998 to the end of 1999 to identify any particular concerns and the actions to be taken: involvement of healthcare professionals in the issues to be resolved, in particular in risk analysis and planning for the continuity of care; a checkpoint at 30 September 1999 to ensure all parts of the NHS are fully prepared or have effective contingency plans in place.Regional offices of the NHS Executive will analyse returns from hospitals and health authorities and, by 15 June 1998, report to the Chief Executive of the NHS identifying any particular concerns and action they have taken to address them. Monitoring will be continuous and, as recommended by the National Audit Office, regional offices will intervene where faster progress is necessary.To underline local accountability, all reports for central monitoring must be considered by NHS boards in the public sections of their meetings.Once the information from the NHS quarterly returns has been fully analysed, it will be consolidated into the quarterly statement on the public sector and NHS presented to Parliament by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.