New  kids hospital dream  remains a parking lot

Staff at Panama ’s sick kids hospital (Hospital del Nino) who have struggled with cramped and outdated facilities under successive administrations holding out the carrot of “a new hospital soon”  have had their hopes dimmed once again.

Building a new children’s hospital in the country has become the most complex and delayed public health project during the last two government administrations while the site remains a parking lot.

The Ministry of Health (Minsa) must make another tender for the construction of the new facility after the Directorate of Public Procurement ordered the complete annulment of the evaluation reports of the five consortia who participated in the prequalification act.

The Public Procurement Directorate annulled the reports prepared by the commission that evaluated in September and November the companies interested in participating in the tender to build the hospital on the grounds of the former  US Embassy on Balboa Avenue.

In a report, the DGCP ordered the return of the administrative file of the prequalification process to the bidding entity (Ministry of Health) and warned that there is no recourse against this resolution that totally suspends the prequalification process.

The Ministry must appoint a new commission to evaluate the proposals presented by the consortia for developing the hospital project.

The decision of the DGCP arose after the public act was twice suspended, due to claims presented by participatingp companies.

The consortiums filed actions against the process, after the evaluating commission appointed by the Minsa ratified on two occasions that the proposals of the consortiums Nuevo Hospital del Niño (of Portugal) and FCC América Hospital del Niño (of Spain) were the only ones that  met the requirements established in the prequalification document

Esteban Perdomo, president of the Association of Specialists of the Children’s Hospital, asked the government to act as quickly as possible so that the work is tendered and awarded in this government.

“We do not ask a new hospital for medical or administrative personnel, but for Panamanian children,” Perdomo said.

Former Comptroller Carlos Vallarino said there is no justification for the long delay when the bidding entity has the appropriate staff for the procedures.

Health Minister Miguel Mayo, said that the project will be tendered and awarded in this administration.

According to the authorities, the pediatric center works daily at its maximum capacity. Hospital data shows that the occupation is generally an average of 380 of the 399 beds available.