HSE’s process for care site selection criticised
Internal auditors severely criticise procedures for the acquisition of sites for primary care centres in the greater Dublin region
Minister for Health James Reilly added a number of sites to a shortlist of primary care centres.
Procedures followed by the Health Service Executive for the acquisition of sites for primary care centres in the greater Dublin region have been severely criticised by its internal auditors.
Principles of public sector and HSE procurement were not complied with in the acquisition of centres in the Dublin Mid-Leinster region, their report states. The audit identifies “significant inadequacies and deficiencies” in the standard of documentation, files and records maintained by the estates division of the HSE. “Overall, the inadequacy and lack of comprehensiveness of records and files results in an inability of HSE to demonstrate the application of the fundamental principles of procurement, namely, openness, transparency and equality of treatment,” the auditors say.
Government plans for a major expansion of primary care facilities have been bedevilled by delays and controversy over recent years. Last year The Irish Times revealed Minister for Health James Reilly added a number of sites, including two in his constituency in north Dublin, to a shortlist of primary care centres for development. This was a major factor in the later resignation of Labour Minister of State Róisín Shortall.
The audit reports, obtained under Freedom of Information legislation, are critical of significant delays experienced by the auditors in obtaining information, files and documentation about the process for procuring primary care centres. These delays were compounded by the inadequacy of documentation, said the auditors.
Detailing the failings of the process, the report says closing date provisions were not adhered to, resulting in submissions being accepted after the closing date, while expressions of interest were opened before the closing date.