Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Doctor Foster Went To The Simple Shopper...

Another fine mess for taxpayers
The National Audit Office has just published a highly critical report on the Department of Health's joint partnership with Doctor Foster, a health information company.

"£12m of taxpayers' money was used to form a joint venture with a private company to collect and distribute medical information.

The National Audit Office says the department was not able to show that the deal represented value for money because it ignored Treasury guidelines by failing to seek competitive tenders from other private companies.

The NAO also criticises the department for paying far more than its own financial advisers thought was justified for its half share in Dr Foster Intelligence, a joint venture with the private company Dr Foster."

It seems that KPMG told the DoH the company was worth £10-15m, but the DoH then entered into a 50/50 partnership deal that valued it at £24m. And they dealt without testing the market in any way.

The Department apparently reckoned they'd paid a "strategic premium" to obtain controlling interest. Except that they didn't.

Good luck to the happy shareholders at Dr F, but for us long-suffering taxpayers that's another £12m blown by our Simple Shopper.

The sooner we boot him into touch and start doing our own buying directly, the sooner we all stop falling in puddles right up to our middles.

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