Approximately 80 representatives from Irish and international legal firms met in Dublin on Friday, August 14 in preparation for a major Health Service Executive tender for legal services.
The ‘market sounding exercise’ in the Board Room of Dr Steevens’ Hospital took the form of a presentation by HSE Procurement.
According to the HSE, some 91 per cent of ‘incumbent spend’ was represented witha geographical spread of 20 of the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland represented.
Dublin had the highest number of firms represented with 34, while Cork had the second-largest representation with nine firms.
The other 18 counties had between one and four firms present, while there were three representatives from outside the jurisdiction.
The seminar was organised so that the Executive could ‘formally engage’ with the legal services market and seek their views on the delivery of services to the HSE in advance of going to tender.
A spokesperson for the Executive told Irish Medical Times that a deadline of 31 August has now been set for expressions of interest, and it is hoped to begin the process of awarding tenders for what is understood to be a contract for the entire Executive by December.
The legal profession has been paid more than €107 million in fees by the Health Service Executive since 2005.
Last year, the sum of €36.6 million was paid out on external legal costs — which was a 20 per cent increase on 2007’s figure.
As part of the HSE Value for Money Programme, a saving of €2 million has been targeted specially for legal costs this year. However, the Executive is finding it difficult to reach the targeted savings.