The HSE’s chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry has denied that proposed changes to Navan hospital's emergency department are a downgrading.
The HSE is planning to move from a 24-hour emergency department at the hospital to a medical assessment unit, which is not a downgrade, Dr Henry told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
Navan hospital will continue to see acutely ill patients, he said. There will also be a rapid response vehicle for the community.
The needs of the community will be best served by early assessment and “going to the right place at the right time,” said Dr Henry.
The majority will still continue to have their needs met at Navan hospital while additional hospital beds and acute beds will be added at Drogheda hospital to enable changes to take place, he explained.
The changes have to be carefully planned with work ongoing, so the transfer can be seamless, added Dr Henry.
Navan hospital is the last of nine hospitals around the country to undergo such a change under 2014 regulations. The system works well as the vast majority of people who previously would have attended emergency departments can now attend the medical assessment unit, he said.