ENERGY RENOVATION OF HOSPITALS
Although Slovenia has a fairly well-developed framework for public procurement, practices don’t always live up to the rules on paper. Corruption remains a serious issue for which Slovenia has been sanctioned by the European Commission in the past. The Slovenian Commission for the Prevention of Corruption stated that public procurement is a key risk area for corruption and conflict of interest. Energy, construction, urban planning and healthcare are considered particularly susceptible sectors given their close connection to the political domain.
A succession of corruption scandals, some involving the highest levels of government, have caused the public to lose faith in their government. Misconduct in the health sector has been particularly high-profile after a prominent surgeon stepped forward as a whistleblower. Hospitals were built with little oversight, and equipment costs were many times higher than they should have been. In recent years, Slovenia has increased its efforts to improve the national procurement system with several ambitious projects that promote transparency and public access to information.
This makes Transparency International Slovenia’s work monitoring the energy renovation of the Trbovlje and Novo mesto General Hospitals through the Integrity Pacts project particularly relevant.
In November 2016, TI Slovenia signed an Integrity Pact with the Slovenian Ministry of Health. Trbovlje Hospital signed the IP in October 2017, whereas Novo mesto hospital in September 2018. Selected bidders for both projects signed the IP as well. The Trbovlje hospital renovation ended in 2019, while the works in Novo mesto are ongoing. Transparency International Slovenia has been using the Integrity Pact as an opportunity to get the local community involved so that those closest to the project can make sure their money is spent as it should be.