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HSE spends almost €300k to promote under-sixes sign-up

The figure involves expenditure this year up to 1 July.

Despite the HSE ordering 150,000 sign-up paper forms, just 1,870 (as of July 30) under-sixes have been registered for the scheme through paper-based applications.

Documentation released to MI under Freedom of Information legislation shows the HSE paid €6,824 to Serla Print for 150,000 application forms and a further €782 for delivery to 34 locations.

An Executive spokesperson said the HSE wanted to provide an alternative application process to its online registration system, and added that the order “ensured a competitive cost and the forms won’t go out of date”.

Under a breakdown of the €287,000 advertising and campaign spend, the Executive paid media company Carat €170,568 for “media planning and buying of a five-week campaign on radio, print and online”. The advertising campaign commenced on 15 June.

The next-highest payment — of €71,451 — was to KICK Communications for design of the application form, information leaflet and posters and for “design and production of print, radio and digital ads”. This payment also incorporated “focus group testing of online registration system and campaign materials” and the development of the logo.

The HSE stated: “All creative materials were developed in consultation with KICK Communications.

“The campaign planning and management, public relations and social media aspects of the campaign were delivered in-house by HSE communications at no additional cost.”

Innovative Print were paid €13,837 by the HSE for printing 3,500 poster and leaflet packs and personalised letterheads for GPs. Postage costs were €23,639.

The number of under-sixes who had been registered online as of 30 July was 143,734. On 5 August, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar tweeted that the total number of under-sixes signed-up for free GP care stood at 156,250. Approximately 270,000 under-sixes are eligible for the scheme.

As of 30 July, content on the HSE website for free GP care for under-sixes had received 568,531 page views, two promoted Facebook posts, 1,541,021 impressions and 7,062 ‘likes’.

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