MedDoc £4.8M Contracts Suspect Process
The award by the GSLP/Libs Government to MedDoc Limited of multi-million pound contracts raises very significant issues of good governance and transparency. The Government needs to make a statement in Parliament at the earliest opportunity as to the action it will take in response to those findings.
Between 2015 and 2018 MedDoc were awarded three contracts to supply healthcare and elderly services to the GHA and Care Agency. Those contracts were of a value in excess of £4.8M. In the case of one of those contracts there were variations that enlarged that contract to an additional value of more than £900,000.
After an extensive investigation the Principal Auditor has concluded that he cannot say that MedDoc had the most competitive bids and that there has been a breach of tendering rules. In his report he says:
• “The Gibraltar Audit Office had been requesting information in regard to the tender process and tender submissions since November 2017. No formal written record of the stages of the internal tender procedures were made available to the audit examiner, and a number of documents relating to the tender process were never provided” [5.4.11];
• “There are no signed formal contracts in place for any of the three healthcare tenders awarded” [5.4.12];
• In respect of the contract at Hillsides he observes that the contract was initially awarded to another party and then removed from that entity and awarded to MedDoc in circumstances where he has been unable to verify the basis of that decision. He adds that “I therefore cannot obtain any assurance that the most competitive bid was the one selected” [5.4.15];
• In relation to the contract at Bella Vista he notes that the contract award to MedDoc was in the sum of £1,425,558 in 2017 but that variations were made to the contract that resulted in an increment by £931,034. He observes this was in contravention of tendering rules [5.4.21]. Like he did in the case of Hillsides he notes in relation to the Bella Vista contract that “I cannot therefore obtain any assurance that the most competitive bid was the one selected by the GHA” [5.4.19];
• He concludes that variations made in relation to the John Mackintosh Wing contract were also contrary to tender regulations [5.4.31];
• In overall terms he states that “In the absence of official tender documentation, I am unable to conclude that the contracts for the provision of healthcare services for the elderly in the three sites were awarded to the best tender submission bids in all three cases” [5.4.34].
Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said: “These are remarkable conclusions after an in-depth investigation by the Principal Auditor and his team spanning a few years. The conduct it reveals is unacceptable and raises serious questions of probity, transparency and good governance. How is it possible for MedDoc to have been awarded these contracts in this way and why? A statement to Parliament should be made by the Health Minister as to why there are gaping holes in the documentation; how it is possible that the tendering rules were breached; and what action the GHA will be taking in light of this Report. Quite apart from the breach of rules involved the tax-payer is entitled to value for money and there should be no suspicion as to how or why contracts have been awarded.”