Peadar and Emer Tóibín.

A frail 82-year-old man was left in agony for hours last Friday night after he took a tumble in Navan’s Beaufort House nursing home and had to wait for an ambulance to travel from Dublin to take him to the hospital.

Astonishingly the ambulance crew then insisted they had been instructed to take him to the Lourdes hospital sixteen miles away in Drogheda despite the nursing home is less than 500 metres from Navan hospital.

The leader of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign and Meath West TD Peadar Toibín revealed “I have been given reliable information about an elderly patient who suffered a serious fall on Friday night less than 250 metres from Navan A&E.

“An 82 year old man whose family have asked for his name to be withheld fell in a nursing home which adjoins Navan Hospital at 7pm on Friday evening last.

“An ambulance was called for and one had to come all the way from Dublin to pick him up. The family requested that the elderly man be brought next door to Navan A&E.

“The ambulance drivers refused to do this, indicating that they have been told not to bring the patient to Navan A&E but to bring him to Drogheda. Even when the family protested this, the Ambulance drivers insisted on Drogheda and said that their jobs depended on it.

“They insisted on this despite being advised that the direct road is closed between Navan and Drogheda due to roadworks.

“As a result, the ambulance had to travel for miles and miles on diverted country roads to get to Drogheda’s Lourdes hospital.

“The patient did not arrive at Drogheda until 11 pm on Friday. His sister who is 80 years old had to drive from Navan to Drogheda on these same diverted country roads.

“Because of the overcrowding in Drogheda, the man was not seen for hours. His elderly had to sit with him as he was agitated. Nurses in Drogheda took bloods and then decided to do a scan at 8 in the morning. This did not happen in the end as the patient was too agitated and the medics said he wasn’t still enough for the scan.

“The staff in Drogheda then called an ambulance to take the patient back to Navan A&E. This ambulance did not arrive at Drogheda until 8 pm on Saturday evening, over 24 hours after the accident happened to collect the elderly man. The 82-year-old man was left lying on a trolley all that time and there was confusion among staff in Navan and Drogheda as to his location.

“This begs the question, is the HSE already reducing patient access to Navan by diverting ambulances away from Navan A&E, even from its own doorstep? Why are they doing it when the road between the two towns is closed. Why are they sending a patient to a far longer waiting time in Drogheda than dealing with them in Navan? What was the cost, as the ambulance was out of service in helping others for a far longer period? The Minister must answer these life and death questions”.

A HSE spokeswoman said, ‘We do not comment on individual patient cases.

‘There is no curtailment in services to patient to Our Lady’s Hospital Navan.  The hospital is bypassed for cases involving trauma, heart attack and strokes, which has been the case for a number of years. ‘