Former Fine Gael TD, Ray Butler. has blamed the culture of civil servants running the show in both the HSE and department of health as one of the main reasons behind the health authorities efforts to shut the A&E in Navan hospital.

He told Meath Live, ‘ The civil servants will tell TD’s and even the Minister ‘we’ll be here longer than you ever will so we say what goes we tell you what does and does not happen if people have ever seen Yes Minister on TV it is like that, some of the best and most forward-thinking politicians have gone into health with fresh ideas and been overwhelmed by the bureaucrats.

‘Certain civil servants within the health sector have this mental block about doing anything with the Navan A&E apart from closing it and I know that personally.

‘In 2012 my late mother was in the A&E and while I was waiting with her I saw two elderly ladies being placed in an ambulance to be brought to Drogheda’s Lourdes hospital for treatment, imagine my shock when an hour or so later I saw them back in Navan, the ambulance staff got a message and they halfway there telling them to turn back as Drogheda had no room for them.

‘Now a decade on the staff in Drogheda are still saying they cannot take the overflow from Navan and still the faceless ones in the department are saying they can.

‘I was a TD when that happened in 2012 and had access to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and told him that under no circumstances should Navan A&E be downgraded and to be fair to the man he agreed and found the funds to actually improve the place.

‘The problem was though while the Navan facility was improved it was only a cosmetic exercise they spent millions doing it up but not a cent on improving the services.

‘The HSE top brass are emphasising that the Navan A&E is not fit for purpose, so say for a minute we accept that then surely the answer is an investment to make it fit for purpose not shuffling patients across to other hospitals that have no room for them.

‘Outside of politics not many would know of a thing called a Section 10 ministerial order which gives the minister of any department the right to say no to any proposed changes and I am calling on Stephen Donnelly to use a Section 10 to ensure Navan A&E stays open he cannot let the civil servants win this battle.’