Dr. Jennifer Pugh Chief Medical Officer.

The chief medical officer of the Irish Horse Racing Board, Dr. Jennifer Pugh, has told Meath Live that while horse racing at the Navan track is not under threat from the proposed downgrading of the A&E in Our Lady’s hospital, many hundreds of staff who work in local training yards would see the service as vital.

She also said that the loss of the orthopedic service in the hospital, some years ago was a blow to the racing game.

Pugh said, ‘As it stands when we race at Navan any serious trauma injury is brought straight to the Lourdes in Drogheda, but the closure of the Navan A&E would affect those who suffer minor injuries and certainly would impact on yards of trainers in Meath.

‘Apart from the larger yards like Elliot’s and Meade’s, there is any number of smaller yards that hold training licences and Navan would be the closest hospital to them.

‘For those yards, the service is absolutely crucial, but

what was of more concern to the industry was the closure of the orthopedic services in Navan, there was a huge loss of expertise when that happened.’

Michael Higgins, the general manager of the injured jockey’s association also believes the A&E service in Navan is an essential safety net for the sport locally.

He said, ‘ The bottom line is that the sooner an injured rider can be seen in a hospital the better for them, it is vital they can be seen as soon as possible