Sinn Fein TD for Meath West Johnny Guirke has said that the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has led the people of Meath and their elected Representatives on a merry go round.
He told Meath Live, ‘As far back as February, Minister Stephen Donnelly has sent representatives of County Meath on a wild goose chase.
‘We were invited to a meeting of all elected representatives from Meath, the Minister for Health and his department as well as clinicians from across the board to discuss the impending closures at Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan.
‘The online meeting started and while everyone was waiting for it to begin, it was called off as allegedly the Minister was called out on urgent business.
‘Though no meeting has taken place since, we were invited to one a few weeks back which was cancelled soon afterwards. We now are invited to a new meeting scheduled for the 13th June but by all indications, this will be to say that Navan A&E will close.
‘Sinn Fein have always strongly opposed the downgrading of services for Navan Hospital, and have supported every rally and will continue to fight for the people of Meath.
‘To date, I have not received any answers from Minister Stephen Donnelly’s or his department to questions he asked us all to send in, in advance of our meetings.’
Guirke’s questions are
- What are the proposed changes to A&E and critical care services at Navan Hospital?
- What would the impact of these changes be on patient flow i.e., if changes happened, how many patients who were treated in Navan in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 would now be treated elsewhere?
- What types of patients (what conditions), would be redirected to other hospitals, and where would they then be treated?
- Specifically, what impact would any changes have on the provision of remaining Orthopaedic procedures at Navan hospital, once a leading Orthopaedic hospital for the North East?
- Is there capacity at these other sites (e.g., Drogheda, Connolly, Mater, Cavan)?
- What is the rationale for this type of reform – centralisation of ED and critical care?
- What alternatives to the proposed changes have been considered? Provision of additional resources at Navan, recruitment of additional staff, etc.?
- Along with the fact that Navan is central to a large County with a population of over 210,000, and the proximity of the largest mining operation in Ireland in Navan, how can any downgrade of A&E / ED facilities at Navan be justified?
- The INMO reported in December that they had 1839 job vacancies across the 5 regional groups, which included Our Lady’s in Navan. In relation to Navan Hospital, have these full or part time positions been filled or is the hospital in Navan still significantly short staffed?
- If the proposed move to a Grade 2 hospital for Navan goes ahead, is it envisaged that this would lead to more jobs being created in Navan Hospital, or a further reduction in staffing levels?
- What is the status of the “New” Regional Hospital project which had been suggested for Navan?
He claimed, ‘I know it’s the Government’s plan to transition Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan to a Model 2 hospital, in line with the smaller hospitals’ framework.
‘They will use the lack of staff at the hospital as a reason for downgrading, they will claim our hospital A&E is not safe for patients, they will claim the 210,000 people of Meath will be in a safer zone if we downgrade, we believe this will lead to longer waiting lists, more overcrowding and could result in loss of life unless we hold onto our services.
‘We at Sinn Fein are calling for more investment to Our Lady’s hospital services, and will continue to campaign to save the future of our hospital.’