The Hospital Nurse Isabel Zendal, the project that Isabel Díaz Ayuso turned into her great milestone of her management during the pandemic, has become a bottomless pit of public spending. To this day, the real cost of the infrastructure that the Madrid president ordered to be built in record time is unknown, while at the same time refusing to hire more toilets to put it into operation. Doctors, nurses and other personnel for this hospital (without operating rooms) left the rest of the hospital centers at the same time that the building cost the public coffers three times what was budgeted. It was tendered for 51 million euros and the Community has spent more than 150 million. There was no money for the professionals, although there was money for other multiple and large expenses, as the Community of Madrid’s recruitment portal is gradually publishing. This is the case of the almost 700,000 euros of public money that Ayuso allocated to “equipment” for a press room and another “crisis” room.
Ayuso seeks long-term utility for Zendal seven months after its inauguration
Through an emergency contract, without public tender or publicity, the Madrid president has spent 369,759.83 euros for “supply of equipment for the press room” of Zendal. The beneficiary of this contract was El Corte Inglés, which has taken as many thousands of euros for the IT equipment of the infrastructure. The regional government spent that amount on three lots whose cost amounts to 96,731.94 for one, 27,158.80 for the other and 245,869.09 for the last. The contract was awarded in November 2020, shortly before the building was inaugurated, although it was not until a few weeks ago that the regional government published it on the contracting portal.
It is also the case of the other 323,958.14 euros that Ayuso spent to equip a “crisis room” at Zendal, a hospital without operating rooms. In this case, the company awarded by this contract – once again by hand – was IT RPG, based in Pozuelo de Alarcón and which on other occasions has also received finger contracts from the regional administration. To this contract must be added another minor for the amount of 17,549 euros for the curtains in the “crisis” room that was also awarded to El Corte Inglés.
The regional government does not explain what this “equipment” has consisted of for these two rooms, although they assure that they are “multipurpose” spaces as other hospitals have “to hold sessions and meetings of different kinds.” In the case of the so-called “crisis” room, it is a “multipurpose” room – they say from the Ministry of Health – that has already been used, for example, to hold an International Congress on Covid that Ayuso itself inaugurated last July .
In addition, these same sources explain, the first meeting of healthcare alternatives to the pandemic was held, “held with professionals from different specialties and from different autonomous communities. Finally, it has also been used for something that has nothing to do with the Covid or the health: a meeting of the Madrid Federation of Municipalities. “SUMMA is transferring resources to enable a new coordinating center, and will also use the crisis room,” they report from Health.
As to why the regional government resorted to contracts without public tender or publicity, the regional government justifies it by arguing that they were processed as an emergency “within the hospital work as a whole.” “These are works that are part of the globally considered action, the construction of the Emergency Hospital, and, consequently, were under the coverage of the agreed emergency declaration,” they insist.
The spokesperson for Más Madrid, Mónica García, describes the emergency contract as “abusive.” He also considers that the Zendal has been “always surrounded by scandals and cost overruns” because it was created “thinking about Ayuso’s communication strategy and not the Covid patients” and sees corruption in the construction of the hospital. “From Más Madrid we are going to thoroughly investigate the classified papers of the COVID 19 in Madrid and we are very afraid that we are going to find the most corrupt essence of the PP,” says García.
The complex that the Madrid government repeated “was going to amaze the world”, cost 50 million euros and to be built in six months, is already worth more than 140 million. A single health worker assigned to this hospital was never hired. Only the security for one year has cost 1.8 million, a contract also awarded by hand to a private company owned by a former councilor of the PP in Alcorcón.