While the Government chose to cut and freeze spending for frontline health services, the 2015 estimates reveal an astonishing 86 per cent increase in spending on PR. Under the heading of Dissemination of Information, Conferences and Publications, T.D.s voted to increase spending from €813,000 in 2014 to €1.513 million this year.
At the same time the Government has slashed health spending by €213 million euro in 2015. The effect is further damage to our healthcare system including:
- record levels of overcrowding in hospitals – during February of this year 9,657 patients were waiting on trolleys and in chairs
- over the last year hospital waiting lists for elective surgery have trebled
- rolling closures of operating theatres in Hospitals such as Beaumont have doubled since January
PR and spin were not the only the areas to get increased funding though. Varadkar also found extra resources for consultancy and policy reviews, where spending will increase by 19 per cent in 2015.
During the same vote Government T.D.s decided to cut spending on medical cards, primary care and community care. Primary Care Reimbursement Services and Community Demand led schemes received a 1% cut in funding while 8 million euro was taken away from Medical Card provision.