OLaNO Urges Premier to Nix Information System Tender of Nitra Hospital

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OLaNO MP Marek Krajci (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, December 20 (TASR) – Opposition lawmakers Marek Krajci and Eduard Heger (both OLaNO) called upon Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, who has been appointed to head the Health Ministry temporarily, to stop Nitra faculty hospital’s tender worth €4.2 million on the procurement of an information system, as they find it dubious, TASR learnt on the same day.

These accusations are rejected by the Health Ministry, however.

Krajci, a house health committee member, finds the €4.2 million commission suspicious, pointing out that a hospital in Banska Bystrica managed to procure a similar system for €1.2 million.

According to Krajci, the right thing to do would be to buy a single, central information system for all state-owned hospitals. “You need to have shared data, based on which you can effectively manage and administer them,” he stated. The lawmaker pointed out that the system for Nitra hospital is bound for 60 months and it’s unlikely that the next government could manage to withdraw from the contract.

This view was echoed also by non-parliamentary For People party.

“The tender is to take place over holidays, with the overall price tag north of €5 million, VAT included. The whole tender bears a striking resemblance to the case of Piestany (hospital’s) overpriced CT scanner,” commented Andrea Letanovska of For Pople, making a reference to the overpriced CT scanner purchase that prompted the resignation of then parliamentary chair Pavol Paska (Smer-SD) in 2014.

Letanovska added that the Nitra hospital currently uses Xanta hospital information system, certified by the Health Information National Centre, which was subject to repeated upgrades. A similar system is utilised also by Bratislava’s St. Cyril and Methodius hospital, she pointed out.

The Nitra faculty hospital vehemently rejects allegations of dubious information system tender under its auspices and views them as “political campaigning” in the run-up to the 2020 parliamentary election, however.

“Many lies were spouted at press conferences by political parties. The Nitra faculty hospital vehemently rejects any accusations of fraud and graft. The politicians were comparing prices with an allegedly similar service ordered by a different hospital, but this is grossly misleading because the other hospital in question commissioned only one-third of those items that the Nitra hospital did. Our commission features also additional systems and licenses, hence, its extent is significantly larger,” hospital spokesperson Tatiana Timkova told TASR.

Timkova pointed out that the current information system, in place since 2006, fails to meet even minimum standards required for either employee work or communication with external entities, such as Health Information National Centre.

As for OLaNO MP Marek Krajci’s suggestion of procuring a central information system for all state-owned hospitals, Timkova responded that the “House health committee member should submit his motion to the Health Ministry, seeing as it doesn’t fall under the purview of the hospital to make the purchase of information system centrally”. Furthermore, she called the estimates of the tender’s worth “egregiously unprofessional” and a “deliberate lie”.