Less than two per cent of NHS trusts have protected their systems against the millennium time bomb.
According to a survey by a leading investment bank, 21 per cent of NHS trusts are only just becoming aware of the issue and have not yet defined a strategy to assess or tackle the problem.
The survey, by Dresdner Kleinwort Benson Finance, polled 266 IT specialists in NHS trusts. Only 33.8 per cent have analysed the impact on their systems, while only three per cent are in the process of testing their systems - a process that is expected to take up the bulk of the time and effort involved in the date change fix.
Around 21.1 per cent were at an ?awareness-only? stage, while 28.9 per cent had defined a basic strategy. The results are worrying when set against suggested deadline of October 1998, set by the government-backed pressure group Taskforce 2000 for completion of year 2000 projects.
Adrian Stewart, director of Dresdner Kleinwort Benson Finance, said: ?I am very surprised how far behind they are.? With IT budgets already under pressure, some trusts are expecting computer suppliers or the government to foot the bill, he added. However, four trusts that had contacted their systems suppliers were told they would not help. One respondent said: ?Some suppliers are being less than honest by recommending system upgrades rather than implementing changes.?
A spokesperson for the NHS Executive said more than two-thirds of NHS organisations are using resources from existing budgets to address the date change problem.
Attitudes to the size of the finance problem varied considerably. One manager anticipated ?a cost of #1 million for a complete rewrite of their Patient Administration System.? Others said they would look externally for funding if no money is available. In contrast, a minority believed finance would not be a problem or that some systems were already compliant.
In the NHS, the year 2000 problem could affect systems ranging from patient recall software to chips embedded in scanners and monitors.
HP and Centrica are the first industry partners to sign up to the government's new Code
New ice grows faster but is also more vulnerable to weather and wind
With a crackdown on cheats is coming in November, PUBG rushes to fix matchmaking problems introduced in Update #22
New material uses carbon dioxide from the air to repair and reinforce itself