Doctors petition Minister on Navan hospital


MORE THAN 100 doctors in the northeast have appealed to Minister for Health James Reilly to stop the Health Service Executive downgrading the emergency department at Our Lady’s Hospital Navan.

The GPs from four counties across the region signed a letter asking Dr Reilly not to allow the HSE proceed with plans to remove services from the Co Meath hospital.

The letter, drafted by Ruairí Hanley of the Save Navan Hospital campaign, said GPs had learned of HSE plans to close the hospital’s emergency department between 8pm and 8am.

“We wish to state unequivocally that we are utterly opposed to any such downgrading . . . We believe that any further removal of acute medical, emergency, intensive care, surgical or psychiatry services from Navan would represent a serious threat to the health and safety of our patients,” it stated.

Proposed improvements at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda were not an acceptable substitute for 24-hour acute medical care in Navan, the doctors said. They rejected any suggestion by the HSE that the proposed actions were in the best interests of patient safety.

Dr Hanley yesterday said he and his colleagues had become aware of plans to downgrade the emergency department at the hospital through a leaked internal HSE cost-containment document.

A HSE spokeswoman said there would be no immediate changes to services at the hospital.

The Department of Health was developing a framework for the future of smaller hospitals, she said, and “there will be no significant service changes at Navan or Dundalk until after this framework has been completed”.

A spokesman for Dr Reilly said consultation with health professionals would be key to the framework for the development of smaller hospitals.