Sinn Féin TD for Meath West, Johnny Guirke, and TD for Meath East, Darren O’Rourke, and party spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane, have criticised the announcement of plans to remove vital emergency services from Navan Hospital.
They called on the Minister to halt the current plan which would undermine trust and faith in healthcare reform.
They said that wait times are too long at almost every Emergency Department across the State, and that, years later, University Hospital Limerick is still severely overcrowded following similar changes.
Along with the retention of emergency services, they called for greater investment in community healthcare, the ambulance service, and primary care, including out-of-hours GP services, saying these are badly needed to tackle the real challenges facing the hospital.
Teachta Guirke said:
“The proposed loss of services at Navan Hospital is the wrong decision and the downgrading of the hospital is intolerable.
“Wait times are far too high at Emergency Departments across the State, and only last week the Mater Hospital was warning patients away due to long waits.
“There is no guarantee that capacity is available elsewhere in the region and there are very real concerns about the future of much needed services at the hospital.
“We need investment in Navan Hospital to improve services, not downgrade services.”
Teachta O’Rourke said:
“The downgrading of Navan Hospital at a time when hospitals across the State are severely under pressure raises serious questions.
“Navan Hospital does not have sufficient capacity due to bad government policies to date which has caused a lack of doctors and nurses and underinvestment in the hospital, as well as alternatives in the community.
“What Navan Hospital needs is sufficient investment to retain these vital services, investment in community and primary care, particularly out-of-hours GP care, and realignment of care to reduce pressure and overcrowding in hospitals.”
Teachta Cullinane said:
“It would be a disservice to the communities across Meath that services would be downgraded at Navan Hospital.
“Healthcare reform should mean improvements in the services which are most needed locally, not downgrading of vital emergency services.
“Doctors and paramedics should be free to make the best decision for any patient, and to assess the risks of distance and travel, and proper investment in services at Navan would provide options to help, not hinder, good emergency care.
“If the government does not demonstrate significant investment and improvement across community healthcare, GP and out-of-hours services, and the ambulance service, it will not repair the trust needed with communities. Reform cannot be led with cuts to services.
“This is the wrong decision which could create real difficulties for patient care and other hospitals. We cannot see a repeat of what has happened in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.
“The Minister for Health needs to set out clearly where he stands on this proposal.”