Most patients will be unaffected by changes to Navan hospital - emergency consultant

The president of the Irish Emergency Medicine Association said there is an "awful lot of exaggeration" as to the extent patients will be impacted by the hospital's Emergency Department changing to a 24/7 medical assessment and injury unit
Most patients will be unaffected by changes to Navan hospital - emergency consultant

Vivienne Clarke

The president of the Irish Emergency Medicine Association, Dr Fergal Hickey has said the majority of people in the Navan area will not experience any change under reconfiguration plans for Our Lady’s Hospital.

There is strong political opposition to the proposal to replace the hospital's Emergency Department (ED) with a 24-hour medical assessment and injury unit.

Local TD Peadar Tóibín told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland that the hospital’s clinical director, surgeon Gerry McEntee, was wrong when he said the changes would benefit the region and patients.

All that was needed to keep the hospital's services intact, Mr Tóibín said, was an additional €10 million a year.

However, Dr Hickey, a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Sligo University Hospital, told the same programme the 'throughput' at Navan was actually very low and that the hospital was already by-passed for major trauma, stroke and heart attack care.

"There's an awful lot of exaggeration of the extent to which people will have to move.

"For the majority of people in Navan their experience will not change.

"There is a serious patient risk issue here. We know that the last thing any politician wants to be associated with is what is perceived as a downgrade of its local hospital."

Dr Hickey said people should look at what happened in Roscommon as an example of a positive outcome.

"It is now doing more than it did 15 years ago. More staff are employed, providing more services - that is the future for Navan.

"It is not going to be a 24/7 Emergency Department - people are still using the term Accident and Emergency Department which went out 22 years ago, they fail to understand that an emergency department is not just a sign outside the door.

"It requires a hospital with the capacity to support the Emergency Department and it requires certain throughput. Navan is not in that position and no amount of investment is going to change that."

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