The HSE has said that the final stages to change the Our Lady’s Hospital Navan emergency department to a 24-hour Medical Assessment Unit will begin soon.

The new Medical Assessment Unit for Navan will also be supported by a Local Injuries Unit.

It said that once established, the MAU will operate 24/7 and will continue to see around 80% of the 25-30 patients who currently arrive at the hospital’s emergency department.

However, clinically unstable patients will no longer be brought to Navan.

The HSE has said that on average, five or six more unstable patients per day who are currently brought to the hospital will be sent directly to another hospital.

From 30 June, the HSE said there will be a greater transfer of patients between Our Lady’s Hospital Navan and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, where two additional ICU beds will open by September.

The HSE has said that under the changes, Navan will no longer have an intensive care unit.

Clinical Director of Our Lady’s Hospital Navan and consultant surgeon Gerry McEntee said that critically ill patients in Co Meath will now be provided with the best opportunity of survival by being brought directly to the nearest Model 3 or 4 hospitals.

He said the change is supported by the physicians, surgeons, anesthetists junior doctors, and the emergency department nursing staff in Our Lady’s Hospital Navan, who have all expressed their concerns regarding the current ED patient safety.

In 2013, Navan was included in a list of ten hospitals earmarked for ED closure and a report recommended they be downgraded to medical assessment units or injury units.

All the emergency departments on that list are now closed, except for Our Lady’s Hospital, despite the concerns of senior clinicians within the HSE.

Some senior clinicians have concerns about patient safety and believe patients with life-threatening conditions needing major resuscitation should be brought to a major hospital.

The Save Navan Hospital campaign group says closing the emergency department will only add to overcrowding at hospitals in Drogheda, Blanchardstown, and Cavan.

Our Lady’s Hospital Navan is part of the Ireland East Hospital Group.