Health Service faces embedded bug problems

Health Service faces embedded bug problems
Political Correspondent
Non-Year 2000 compliant microcontrollers embedded in NHS equipment threaten widespread disruption in hospitals and surgeries with potentially fatal consequences for patients, the National Audit Office (NAO) has warned.
Some 15 per cent of Trusts admitted to the NAO that they could not be confident of ensuring that their clinical equipment would continue to function normally in the Year 2000 despite predicted spending on the Year 2000 for the NHS as a whole of ?230m.
Embedded micros are the key threat, says the report. David Davis, chairman of the House of Commons Public Accounts committee, to which the NAO reports, underlined the warning: “Much of the equipment used in diagnosis and treatment, for example, intravenous infusion pumps used commonly in the NHS, contain embedded microprocessors. Failure of such vital pieces of equipment could have even more serious consequences for individuals than failure of major computer systems.”


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