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1998-05-23 16:12:45


Manager of Large Australian Hospital Admits to Crisis



Here we have an anomaly: a manager of a very large organization admits that y2k threatens his operation, and something must be done, fast.

He also does not offer happy-face deadlines.

This is from THE AUSTRALIAN (April 7).

* * * * * * * *

INFORMATION technology, engineering and biomedical experts at Western Australia's Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital are racing to prevent millennium bug problems that could shut down the $180 million complex. . . .

The hospital's Year 2000 project manager, Bill Hanlon, has completed a review of the 700-bed hospital's operations, based on a West Australian health study by Ernst and Young.

"The consequences of inaction are frightening as many aspects of the hospital have the potential of ceasing to function if nothing is done," Mr Hanlon says. "The consequences of not discharging or meeting critical exposures included the inability of computer systems to perform, which would endanger the whole of the operational aspects of the hospital. . . .

"The problem is that we don't know what will and won't work until there has been a series of thorough checks on these items of equipment. If we knew what doesn't work, then we could fix or replace it. But until we do we have a problem.

"Finally, the exposure to legal liability of all kinds could be sustained as a result of negligence relative to the Year 2000 millennium bug problems."

Mr Hanlon says potential problems in the hospital's engineering and communications centres have already been identified.

A replacement program has also been identified for process control systems, or electronic chips, which switch valves on and off to deliver power, water and air conditioning throughout the hospital. These are not Y2K compliant and could prevent the use of operating theatres and have an impact on critical care wards.

The hospital's central telephone switchboard and some telephone extensions are not Y2K compliant and a replacement schedule has been prepared.


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