The SAO criticized the Ministry of Health for lack of conceptual approach to psychiatric care

Press Release – January 7, 2013

The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) performed an audit of funds allotted to eight selected psychiatric hospitals within the period 2010 and 2011. Auditors scrutinized management of the state property worth CZK 2,600 million and funds amounting to CZK 130.4 million. The auditors also scrutinized the Ministry of Health as the founder of the psychiatric hospitals.

Auditors warn that the Ministry of Health has failed to provide a conception of the development of psychiatric hospitals in spite the government approved a long-term programme aimed at improvements of health conditions of the Czech population already in 2002. According to the document, which outlined goals of the psychiatric care, large psychiatric hospitals should have been substituted by psychiatric care provided by general hospitals, emergency centres, and households. “By reducing the capacity of the psychiatric hospitals to maximum of 500 beds in each better therapy methods and individual approach to patients were targeted. The total capacity of psychiatric hospitals should have been cut down to some 6,000 beds. These would be used for subsequent care”, said vice-president of the SAO Miloslav Kala.

In spite the programme was approved by the government ten years ago, the long-term programme has not yet been further elaborated by the Ministry. “The eight audited psychiatric hospitals offer the total number of more than 6,000 beds and the Ministry manages 15 similar premises”, said vice-president Kala. Out of the eight audited hospitals, five dispose with more than 500 beds, the other three have over 1,000 patients in each. Auditors concluded that conceptual documents of the Ministry were not dealing with the development of psychiatric care at all.

At psychiatric hospitals, auditors found errors in accounting books and inventory records as well as errors in some contracts. For example, the hospitals made rental contracts for indefinite periods in spite it was forbidden by the law. In several cases, there was no possibility to terminate the contract in case the provider failed to perform their duties properly and in due time, or in case the hospitals were no longer entitled to lease the property.

The hospitals made errors when contracting public procurements as well. For example, psychiatric hospital in Havlíčkův Brod opted for non-standard procedures, when entered two contracts for construction works worth CZK 4.8 million with one provider and later enlarged the subject matter of the contract through 21 amendments, which increased the final costs of the procurement to CZK 12.1 million.

For further details about the auditing operation No. 12/07 (in Czech only), see the following link: (pdf 226 kB).

Communication Department
Supreme Audit Office

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