Ministry of Health (MOH), South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) – Securing Value for Money from the Procurement of Goods and Services
The procurement of goods and services is critical to the delivery of healthcare, administered by four Regional Health Authorities (RHAs). The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), the largest of the four, has responsibility for nine hospitals and 91 health centres in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas, when combined, represent 47 per cent of Jamaica’s population. For the financial years 2011-12 to 2016-17, Parliament allocated $87.6 billion to SERHA, of which $25.5 billion (or 29 per cent) was allotted for the purchase of goods and services, the second largest cost after salaries and wages, making it a key expenditure area. SERHA also received financial support of $1.4 billion from the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund and National Health Fund (NHF). However, these allocations combined, fell short of SERHA’s budgetary requests, by $31 billion for the six-year period. In order to facilitate the delivery of quality healthcare within the context of tight fiscal constraints, it is important for SERHA to obtain value for money from its expenditures.
We conducted a performance audit to determine whether SERHA’s procurement activities were in keeping with good governance practices to obtain value for money. We found weaknesses in SERHA’s procurement practices, which hindered its ability to maximise value for money. For the most part, SERHA adhered to the procurement guidelines in carrying out its procurement activities; however, its procurement practices did not always demonstrate that efforts were made to ensure that value for money was obtained. While SERHA developed strategic plans, the Authority’s assessment of needs was inadequate and lacked defined strategies for the allocation of resources, which is an important first-step in the procurement process. This impaired SERHA’s ability to develop annual plans for its procurement activities to ensure the best use of money to maximise value. I urge SERHA and MOH to consider for implementation, the recommendations contained in this report.