OUTSIDE advisers, who were hired to cut hospital waiting lists and A&E delays, have cost almost €1.5m since Health Minister James Reilly took office.
Dr Martin Connor, a UK expert who is now cutting his contract short, has been paid €544,520 since he took up the post in 2011.
He retains his position as a special adviser despite spending half of every month in California, where he is doing research at Stanford University. The Manchester native, who is a former NHS manager, recently indicated he is to leave with nearly one year of his three-year contract to go.
The company PA Consulting got €429,241 for analysis of waiting lists while another UK expert Lis Nixon has been paid €253,166.
It recently emerged that the Revenue Commissioners are investigating the tax status of Dr Connor and Ms Nixon who are both paid through overseas companies, allowing them to legally avoid paying tax here.
The Centre for Diagnostic Management received €222,376 for advice on waiting lists. Although progress was made last year in cutting delays for operations, the figures have climbed dramatically in 2013.
From December to the end of April the number of patients waiting longer than six months for hospital treatment jumped from 6,038 to 11,348.
The number of patients waiting longer than 12 months for treatment went up from 36 to 653 during the same time.
Those on waiting lists for treatment between nine and 12 months increased from 71 to 3,062. The entire waiting lists went up from 40,047 to 47,943 and the average delay extended to three months, compared with 2.5 months at the end of 2012.
Meanwhile, figures supplied to Fianna Fail TD Billy Kelleher in a parliamentary reply, show a range of other consultancy contracts were entered into last year including a payment of €368,825 to Goodbody Stockbrokers on how to structure the private health insurance market.