Scotland’s health service has awarded a contract worth more than £2m to an accountancy firm for “management and advisory services” on the coronavirus vaccine programme.
The contract is for “extended flu and Covid vaccination programme management and advisory services” and was handed out three months before the first vaccinations began in Scotland.
The Scottish Government gave the £2.32m deal to KPMG without any other competing bids in September because of the “extreme urgency” of the vaccination programme, according to the contract award notice published on Tuesday.
The justification for directly awarding the contract on behalf of NHS Scotland states it was due to “unforeseeable” events.
It adds the work required is to “meet the additional demands of the Scottish Health and Social Care sector during the current Covid-19 pandemic”.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Given the scale of the unprecedented demand on health services and the need to run both the flu and Covid vaccination programme, KPMG were contracted to provide administrative support to NHS and government officials leading on planning and delivery.
“A number of contracts were awarded on a ‘direct’ basis due to extreme urgency.
“NHS National Services Scotland has since transitioned to other ‘open’ tender procedures whenever possible.”
Commenting on the contract, Scottish Labour’s Neil Findlay told The Sunday Mail: “This is extraordinary – we have the Scottish Government handing over millions to a private sector organisation to tell them how to roll out the vaccine.
“Do they not trust civil servants or the NHS to work out how to do this?”
Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell added: “It might have been better for the Government to empower our local healthcare providers rather than splash millions on external consultants.
“The vaccine rollout is giving people hope right now and they won’t begrudge extra resources being brought in from the private sector.
“The problem is that the SNP and First Minister are failing to be upfront about these contracts.”