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Friday, 19 June, 1998, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Chilling consequences of millennium bug
Millennium Bug graphic
Time is running out to stamp on the Millennium Bug
By BBC News online's Nick Assinder.

A chilling report into the life-threatening dangers posed by the millennium bug has been produced by the public sector watchdog, the Audit Commission.

The Busting the Bug campaign logo
Government is trying to warn businesses
It paints a picture of computer-generated chaos as mundane, everyday equipment like heating systems, lifts, car park barriers and video recorders fail as soon as the clock chimes midnight on 31 December 1999.

But it also warns that other systems like medical equipment, communication links with fire and ambulance services and even the operation of traffic lights could be affected.

Other public services such as the child protection register and benefits payments could also collapse as their computer systems fail.

The report states: "For the NHS and local government there is a serious risk to life and health.

A hand typing on a keyboard
But many may leave it until it is to late
"Hospitals could be susceptible to a malfunction of medical equipment, social workers may be prevented from accessing the child protection register and patient systems may refuse to allow the booking of appointments for the year 2000 and beyond."

It goes on: "Traffic lights may stop working, increasing the risk of accidents, communication systems used by the emergency services might fail to work, increasing the risk to the public and regular payments to those in need could be disrupted."

And it concludes that public bodies need to do much more to counter the looming danger.

Click here to read what the Audit Commission report reveals

See also:

14 Apr 98 | millennium bug
16 Jun 98 | millennium bug
16 Jun 98 | millennium bug
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