LETTER : Bug-beater

Sir: Why bother to change millions of lines of code to defeat the Millennium Bug (report, 18 April)? The problem may be solved by shifting all dates 50 years, before any computer processing. A few lines of code would subtract 50 from all two-digit formats for years before 2000 and add 50 to the rest. Thus 1999 and 2000 become 49 and 50 respectively. If the cost approaches pounds 400bn, I will happily accept a small consultancy fee from those needing assistance.

Dr David Winterbourne

St George's Hospital Medical School

London SW17