Drogheda consultants express concern for patient safety if Navan ED closes

Seventeen consultants at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital In Drogheda have warned that plans to close the Emergency Department at Navan Hospital will lead to poorer outcomes for patients.

The consultants said in a letter to Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly, that Drogheda Hospital is at full capacity and indicated that the experience of Drogheda Hospital would mirror the pressure being experienced at University Hospital in Limerick if the Navan ED is closed down.

RTE has seen the letter, which states that the HSE's plan to close Navan ED will not provide the right care for patients at the right time or at the right place.

"The transfer of risk from one hospital to another “will lead to poorer clinical outcomes for patients”.

The letter states that “the diversion of acute stroke patients from Navan Hospital to Drogheda Hospital two years ago was done without clinical engagement or adequate resourcing".

It points out that consultants only heard about that move through the national media.

The letter goes on to say that the closure of Navan ED will only push current clinicians out of Drogheda to find alternative employment.

Responding to the letter, chair of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign Peadar Tóibín TD stated; “This letter has dropped like a bombshell on the HSE plans to close the A&E at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan. That 17 senior clinicians who are working at the coalface of the Irish Health Service had to write such a letter to HSE Management is incredible.

“This is damning stuff. The HSE management are being accused of potentially damaging patient health and of creating extreme A&E overcrowding.

"They are being accused of no consultation with those who are tasked with keeping us alive. HSE management seem to little respect for elected representatives or the consultants working in their hospitals.

"The truth is I have no confidence in HSE management. The Minister needs to get a grip of this situation rapidly. He needs to restore his authority. He needs end the plan to close our A&E and start to fund the acute surgery services in Navan to make it safe for everyone”.

Deputy Toibin said the Save Navan Hospital Campaign will proceed with its Public Campaign meeting tonight in the Newgrange Hotel, Navan at 8pm.

"We will bring thousands of people onto the streets of Navan on the 9th of July. We will not let the HSE close our A&E down."