SOME Eyre Peninsula councils are concerned about Country Health SA’s tender process for the supply of pharmaceuticals to regional hospitals and the effect it could have on the viability of town pharmacies.
Elliston District Council chairman and Mid West Health Advisory Council presiding member Kym Callaghan raised the issue at a recent Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association meeting at Elliston.
He said the health advisory council was told the state wide tender had been opened at a meeting last month but did not know any more about it.
Mr Callaghan said there was no information about who could be affected should a major tenderer win the contract.
“Because it is out to tender there is nothing to say one or two major companies won’t get it and there is no information about how that could affect our town pharmacies,” Mr Callaghan said.
“We just don’t know, one company could win the tender for the whole Eyre Peninsula.”
Mr Callaghan said the Mid West HAC was concerned smaller regional pharmacies that supply medication to local hospitals could be beaten out by larger companies.
“You don’t have to be too smart to work out what impact that would have on small pharmacies,” he said.
“We were under the illusion that it just applied to major towns, we’re just after more information at this point.”
Country Health SA acting executive director of corporate service Wayne Champion said Country Health SA regularly reviewed existing arrangements for all supplies and services to its hospitals, aged care and community health facilities.
“This is a standard process that occurs across government when a contract for services comes to the end of its term and a new contract is required,” Mr Champion said.
“As part of our open and thorough procurement process, we seek to apply the principles of the government’s SA Industry Participation Policy.”
Mr Champion said current or previous providers could re-apply for the contract if they met the tender requirements.
He said the policy recognised the importance of local businesses by ensuring their economic impact on the community was included in assessment for procurement options.