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Survey: Still few competitive tenders for hospitals

THE NUMBER of competitions in Slovak hospitals is still low, the analysis published by the Transparency International Slovensko (TIS) and the Institute for Economic and Social Reforms (INEKO) showed. They monitored the public procurements held between April 2012 and February 2014 and found out that the hospitals procured 63 percent of orders worth €525.6 million in competitions where there was only one bid.

THE NUMBER of competitions in Slovak hospitals is still low, the analysis published by the Transparency International Slovensko (TIS) and the Institute for Economic and Social Reforms (INEKO) showed. They monitored the public procurements held between April 2012 and February 2014 and found out that the hospitals procured 63 percent of orders worth €525.6 million in competitions where there was only one bid.

This represents only slight decrease compared to the survey carried out in years 2009-12. At the time 68 percent of orders were procured in tenders with a single bid, the SITA newswire reported on December 17.

The Health Ministry claims that it is interested in increasing the number of bidders. It plans to make several changes, the Sme daily reported.

The problem of the low number of orders can be a result of the market defection. This includes, for example, long maturity date and low payment discipline of hospitals, corruption, manipulated selection criteria, political connections and cartel agreements, SITA reported.

Zuzana Dančíková of TIS said that higher competitiveness means higher savings of the hospitals. In competitions with one bid the final price did not decrease against the expected price, and in some it even increased. On the other hand, in procurements with at least two bidders the price dropped by 9.5 percent in average, she added.

“If two bidders competed in all one-bid tenders of hospitals, the final prices of these competitions would drop by nearly €36 million during the monitored period,” Dančíková said, as quoted by SITA.

The analysis also suggests that the fewest competitions took place in the University Hospital Bratislava (UNB) and three institutes of the cardio-vascular diseases, all of which are the biggest procurers. The average number of bids in these procurements was 1.1.

“There are de facto no competitions in these tenders,” INEKO analyst Dušan Zachar said, as quoted by SITA. He compared it with the Kysuce hospital with policlinics in Čadca (Žilina Region) where there were 5.3 suppliers, on average, bidding for each procurement.

The UNB admits that the well known facts about indebtedness can distract the potential bidders.

“Moreover, the volume of procured services for five hospitals that compose UNB is in the amount which can be secured only by a limited circle of strong suppliers,” UNB spokesperson Petra Stano Maťašovská said, as quoted by SITA.

She added that the practice is that the competition documents are taken by several applicants, but usually only one of them submits the offer. The gradual stabilisation of management caused that the number of bidders increased, to 2.3 applicants in one tender in average during the first 11 months of the year, Stano Maťašovská said, as reported by SITA.

According to Zachar, the situation with the number of competitions was not better in cases they were carried out by electronic auctions. Therefore the TIS and INEKO prepared several recommendations for more effective procurement. According to Dančíková, the ministry should start comparing the most frequently purchased items or to support the openness of hospitals to public control, and to create a model of pro-active control of suspicious tenders in cooperation with the Supreme Audit Authority (NKÚ), the Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) and the Anti-Monopoly Office (PMÚ), as reported by SITA.

The Health Ministry said it has already started working on the recommendations and will inform on them on December 18, Sme wrote.

Source: SITA, Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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