Sinn Fein TDs for Meath West, Johnny Guirke, and Meath East, Darren O’Rourke, have criticised the wording of the terms of reference released by the Ireland East Hospital Group relating to Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan.

The terms make no reference to enhancing or even protecting existing services at Navan Hospital, suggesting that the HSE and Minister for Health remain hell-bent on closing its accident and emergency services.

Guirke told Meath Live, “I am absolutely shocked that the terms of reference do not state where they will invest, enhance and protect our services at Navan Hospital.

“Though a working group has now been established, it seems that it is only in place to ensure the planned reconfiguration of services at Navan Hospital will take place.

“Our hospitals are under immense pressure now, staff are overworked and leaving the country.

“A&E waiting times are at their highest in years. Moving patients from Navan to Drogheda will not improve times, it will just make things worse.

“We have three sitting government ministers in County Meath – Thomas Byrne, Helen McEntee, and Damien English – all of whom have played hopscotch when it comes to the future of Our Lady’s Hospital.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have shamefully allowed no consideration of keeping our A&E open.”

 O’Rourke said, “The terms of reference are the final curtain call on the closure of Navan A&E.

“We have seen nothing in this press release to commit to keeping our A&E open, no commitment to putting services in place, only identifying them, and it falls short of committing to putting these in place before their planned reconfiguration.

“The whole process by the HSE and the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has been wholly unsatisfactory in relation to how they approached the closure of Navan A&E.

“It will take a spectacular challenge by the HSE to deliver more bed capacity and more staff for our hospital and ambulance services while trying to address long waiting times.

“Instead of being railroaded into removing necessary services, we need to see an urgent plan to invest, enhance and address any safety concerns at Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan” has published the terms of reference to give the people of Meath the opportunity to read and see what has been put on record.