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HSE Audit Committee’s disappointment at ‘weak’ health service procurement controls

At a meeting, which took place on 18 April, it was suggested that the focus initially could be on sums over €100,000.

The HSE’s Chief Financial Officer said the issue would be addressed in a new procurement plan, which is due to be completed during the summer.

The plan will set out how procurement processes can be improved over a three-year period.

The Committee had felt that the three-year time frame was too long for some issues, which required immediate prioritisation.

The importance of improving procurement processes has been a constant theme in recent meetings of the Audit Committee. At a meeting in February, the Committee requested that a number of pressing issues related to procurement be considered by the National Director of Health Business Services (HBS).

These included that 100 per cent compliance be achieved on high-value items and that the procurement process for the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) and in other areas be controlled by clinicians and pharmacists.

Other recommendations were to review levels of delegation for people to contract/procure items and the inclusion of a requirement in Section 38 agencies service level agreements to use HBS procurement procedures.

Training for HSE staff in procurement is also a key priority, according to the Committee.

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