Legal row over contract to improve Beaumont Hospital blood services heard in the High Court

By Ann O'Loughlin

A legal row over a contract worth millions for the provision of enhanced blood services at Beaumont Hospital has ended up in the High Court.

The legal challenge over a contract to provide services for a state-of-the-art blood sciences laboratory at the hospital was today entered in to the Commercial Court list.

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics Ltd which already provides various services to the hospital has mounted the legal challenge after it was the unsuccessful bidder for the contract worth in the region of €15m to €30m for the implementation and operation of a blood sciences laboratory at the hospital.

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics was one of the companies who tendered for the 15-year contract but the contract was awarded to another company.

On the application of the Hospital today the case was admitted to the big business division of the High Court and will come back before the court at the end of the month.

In the proceedings Beckman Coulter Diagnostics Ltd contends the hospital failed to comply with various requirements of European and Irish law in its conduct of the procurement process and it seeks to have the hospital decision quashed.

Laboratory manager at Beaumont Hospital, Peter O'Leary, in an affidavit said the hospital is undertaking a long-awaited and urgently required laboratory modernisation programme and the contract is the core component of it.

The primary objective, he said, is to optimise patient care through the delivery of substantial improvements in resepct of the timeliness, quality and safety of all results from blood science tests.

He said the contract entails a managed equipment service arrangement where the footprint of the existing pathology laboratories will be extended and the most up-to-date technology provided for specified tests.

Beaumont Hospital expects the new labs and equipment provided under the contract will significantly improve turnaround times on blood samples and reduce the time patients spend in the emergency department as well as helping hospital staff make diagnoses more promptly.

The new facilites will also enable the hospital to perform the most clincially appropriate diagnostic tests in the most efficient manner possible, Mr O'Leary said.

The case comes back to court on July 28 next.

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