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Thursday, 23 December, 1999, 23:19 GMT
Power cut fears prompt torches request

Maternity unit Torches might be needed at maternity units


Women due to give birth during the millennium celebrations have been told to bring a torch to hospital with them.

Two units, the Leicester General Hospital and St Mary's Hospital Maternity Unit at Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, have issued the advice as a precautionary measure.

Hospital authorities are concerned that if there is a power failure sparked by the millennium computer bug then the women will not be able to find their way around the buildings.

Letters have been sent to those due to have their baby delivered at the two hospitals.



It may be useful to bring with you a small torch in case only emergency lighting is in operation
Letter to pregnant women
The letter said: "It may be useful to bring with you a small torch in case only emergency lighting is in operation."

The letter, which went to all women booked in to either hospital between December 29 and January 3, also gives a number of other tips.

They include ensuring they have "a car with petrol and a sober driver" and, along with usual baby equipment, "a flask and sandwiches for your partner".

Hospital bosses say the advice was designed only as a safeguard.

David Yeomanson, general manager of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Leicester General Hospital NHS Trust which includes the two maternity departments, said: "We have our on-site generators to provide power throughout the hospital should we experience a loss of power due to external factors.

"The generators provide power for essential lighting and medical equipment.

"The suggestion that all women may find it useful to bring with them a small torch is for personal use only."

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See also:
02 Dec 99 |  Health
Earth unmoved by millennium babies
24 Jul 99 |  Health
Millennium baby boom 'unlikely'
27 May 99 |  Health
Doctors' leader predicts millennium 'catastrophe'
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