Bratislava, October 17 (TASR) – Health Minister Tomas Drucker (a Smer-SD nominee) can’t rule out the possibility that the central procurement of CT scanners for hospitals might be cancelled in the case of speculative bids, TASR learnt on Monday.
Drucker declared that the Health Ministry has a “sincere” interest in engaging in as good a tender as possible with maximum emphasis on transparency. He estimates that about 50 hospitals might buy CT devices in this way.
Drucker stands by the tender for the central purchasing of CT scanners for hospitals amounting to some €40 million that was criticised by MP Miroslav Beblavy (Independent) last week. He believes that it’s been prepared well. A team of experts worked on its preparation between May-July, and the tender conditions run to 106 pages. Drucker described Beblavy’s statements concerning a potential cartel as hypothetical. It seems to him that such a scenario was suggested to the MP by someone else.
The Health Ministry announced on Friday (October 14) that it will postpone the deadline for presenting bids in the tender by ten calendar days. The original deadline was set for October 17. The ministry will assess the tender terms one more time, and it’s still possible that they might be adjusted. “We want to go through all the comments. I don’t pretend that we’re without error,” said Drucker, who views the tender as being standard and one that anyone can join.
Beblavy said on Friday (October 14) that the tender should be scrapped and carried out anew. He claimed that it’s not a real competition, but a well-managed cartel. He added that it would be possible to save between €6-10 million if the processes related to the tender were modified. Beblavy said that he sees the idea of central purchasing as a good solution for halting dubious purchases in hospitals, but he doesn’t like the way in which the tender in question has been set.
The tender should be concluded in the final quarter of this year. It will be divided in two parts, based on the performance and features of the CT scanners. Each part will result in two winners of an e-auction that will gain a three-year framework contract. Not only state hospitals, but also non-profit organisations and regional hospitals under the remit of regional governments will be able to purchase scanners via the contract.