HSE confirm Local Injuries Unit is already up and running at Navan Hospital

The Local Injuries Navan at Our Lady's Hospital in Navan, which is to replace the Emergency Department in the hospital, in already up and running, according to correspondence from the HSE to Kells Municipal Council.

A letter to the Council from Mary Day, HSE's National Director, Acute Operations stated the ED in Navan is open 24/seven, but also indicated the Local Injuries Unit is open is open from 8am to 8 pm seven days a week, for those aged over 16 years and older, to deal with minor injuries.

The letter was in response to a letter from the council expressing concern at the proposals to close the ED, following a proposal from Cllr Michael Gallagher.

In the letter, Ms Day gave an insight to what the Local Injuries Unit in Navan will treat, including sprains, strains, some broken bones, scalds, burns and bites.

She said the Emergency Department will treat stable medical presentations brought by ambulance or who walk in directly.

"Patients who are assessed as being unstable; or require critical or urgent care will be brought by ambulance to the nearest Emergency Department, which has the expertise on site to deliver best treatment first time and meet the most suitable patient safety needs of these patients."

The letter goes onto say the Local Injury Unit on site in Our Lady’s Hospital is open from 8am to 8 pm seven days a week.

"This service is walk in and does not require a GP referral to access. The teams will assess patients when they arrive. This is called triage. It means that some people may have to wait while we can care for those most in need."

She then goes on to list what ailments people can attend the unit with -"suspected broken bones to arm from collar bone to fingertip, suspected broken bones in legs from knees to toes, sprains and strains, wounds, bites (animal or insect), cuts, grazes and scalp lacerations, minor burns and scalds, foreign bodies and minor chest injuries."

Kells Municipal Council also received correspondence on behalf of Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly in which he said "the HSE has proposed a process of planned service changes at Our Lady's Hospital Navan and has advised that these changes are necessary to support safe service delivery on a sustained basis and are driven first and foremost by patient safety considerations."

The letter stresses that no decision regarding the HSE’s proposal for the transition of the Emergency Department at Navan has been agreed by the Minister or by government.

"While recognising the very real clinical concerns identified, the Government is clear that several important issues, including additional capacity in other hospitals impacted and the continued ability of people in the Navan area to access emergency and urgent care, would need to be fully addressed before any proposed transition by the HSE.

"For this reason, the Minister has asked the HSE to undertake a review of capacity. The review has been received and is currently under consideration," the letter concludes.

Cllr Gallagher said the letters appeared to be contradictory in that the HSE already seems to be implementing many of the proposed changes, while the Minister says no decision has been taken.

"It seems to be it is a done deal. Navan seems to be already operating as if the ED is closed. The ambulances are bypassing the ED since 16th December," he said

"The Minister has had that review for months now, but it was clear it was only set up to close down the ED. There was no input at all from local representatives," he said.