The chairman of the Save Navan Hospital campaign, Peadar Tóibín has blasted the terms of reference handed to the committee tasked with reviewing the HSE recommendations on Our Lady’s hospital A&E unit.
We have published the terms of reference separately and without comment, but in a lengthy diatribe Tóibín told Meath Live, “The terms of reference and the manner in which they were revealed are consistent with the mismanagement of this whole process by the Minister and the HSE. The Terms of Reference have not been published, they have not been made available to the elected reps in Meath or to the community. They have been selectively leaked.”
“It appears that the Terms of Reference has the closure of Our Lady’s Hospital A&E, Navan built into them. What proper investigation would have the outcome hardwired into the Terms of Reference before any research has been undertaken. Minister Damien English promised that this option would be included. Yet its not. We are calling on the Government to include the logical option of strengthening A&E services at Navan with the provision of Acute Surgery Services in Navan into the terms of reference. This is what the 200,000 people in Meath want and need. This is what tens of thousands of people marched for. This is our red line”.
We were told by the HSE that the Review into the future of Navan A&E is on going since July 25th this year. Yet we have been told today that the Terms of Reference and the Working Group have just been finalised. Starting a Review three weeks before the Terms of Reference has been finalised is faulty and backwards. For those of us with experience of the HSE on this issue, this has all the hallmarks of window dressing”.
“The Review is to identify what additional capacity is needed in Drogheda before closure of Navan A&E. Does this mean that additional capacity would actually be provided before closure of the A&E. This is certainly not clear. The HSE state that 5 patients will have to travel to Drogheda if the A&E is closed. However, the Senior medics in who are working at the coal face in the hospital in Drogheda have shown through the official hospital data systems that the figure will be as high as 47 every day. Will the Review research this”?
“An MAU that is to be GP referred would only work if there is enough GPs in the county. How is the review going to ensure this and reduce GP waiting times which can be has high as 2 weeks? The Ambulance service is in crisis. Closure of Navan will put further pressure on Ambulance services needing more trips and longer journeys. How would this be provided for. A&E waiting times are at record levels. What would be the cost in terms of extra capacity in Drogheda, Connolly and Cavan and would be the outcomes on those hospitals”.
Its not good enough that Ministers such as Thomas Byrne are trying to be on both sides of this debate. They accepted the word of HSE’s Gerry McEntee that the A&E would be closed on June 30th and now they say that a Review must be carried out. Its not good enough that local elected reps have been excluded from the development of the Terms of Reference and its not good enough that the result of the Review is predetermined. We in the hospital campaign will push with all our might to ensure that the strengthening of the A&E services in Meath are included and we fight tooth and nail for the functional health service for the 200,000 people in Meath.