Working group appointed to review planned changes at Navan hospital

Plan to divert ICU capacity to Drogheda hospital shelved until impact on other services in the region assessed

A group appointed to review services at Navan hospital has been tasked with identifying additional capacity to be put in place in advance of any reconfiguration.

The working group has also been told to ensure there is no diminution of services arising from the planned reconfiguration of the hospital.

The process of providing “assurance” about the reconfiguration of the hospital is to be completed “within a few weeks”, according to the terms of reference of the group, seen by The Irish Times.

In June, the HSE announced long-delayed plans to divert patients away from the emergency department at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan (OLHN) and to transfer ICU capacity to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda due to safety concerns. Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly instructed the HSE not to proceed with the plan, due to be put into action at the end of June, until its impact on other services in the region was reviewed.

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HSE national clinical lead for acute hospitals Dr Mike O’Connor and national director for acute operations Liam Woods have been appointed as co-chairs of the working group, which also includes the clinical directors of Navan and Drogheda hospitals as well as Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.

“Prior to the confirmation of a date for proposed changes being enacted to services at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, the working group will oversee a process to review and assess the reconfiguration planning done to date, while addressing any additional requirements including identifying the additional capacity which should be in place in advance of any reconfiguration,” the terms of reference state.

The purpose of the process is to “review and assess the reconfiguration plan for OLHN and to ensure the necessary actions to address the impact of the reconfiguration on other services are identified while having regard for the underlying existing patient safety risks at Navan”.

The process will include a rapid review of the existing reconfiguration plan, along with recommendation of any additional capacity needed in advance of the transition of any activity from Navan.

The group has also been tasked with confirming that clear pathways and sufficient staffing are in place to ensure no diminution of services in GP out-of-hours service and the medical assessment unit. A monitoring framework is also to be developed to support the reconfiguration.

The 17-person group — 15 men and two women — will report to HSE interim chief operating officer Damien McCallion and chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry, who are accountable to the HSE chief executive and board.

The planned move of services from Navan is fiercely opposed by a local action group and is being watched carefully by Government TDs in the region.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times