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Reilly: It would be unsafe to close Navan's Emergency Department... right now

The health minister said the department would only close if it was there was capacity elsewhere in the system.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE HEALTH MINISTER has said the emergency department at Navan General Hospital will be downgraded only if another hospital can handle the the number of patients who would be affected.

As many as 8,000 people turned out to protest against the closure of the emergency department at the weekend.

Locals are calling for full services to be kept in the newly-built Accident and Emergency Department at Navan’s Our Lady’s Hospital.

While Minister James Reilly did not call for a reversal of plans to downgrade the department to a local injuries unit, he said he would “not stand over any change to Navan Hospital Accident and Emergency Department while there is not enough capacity elsewhere in the system to safely accommodate the patients that are treated there”.

If there is proven capacity in the system, there will be changes to Navan Accident and Emergency Department in the best medical interests of patients from the area.

“It is not feasible for this to take place in the short term,” he added.

If the emergency department was downgraded, seriously ill or injured patients would instead have to travel to Drogheda.

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Overcrowding at this hospital has been branded a “national scandal” by local TDs.

Read: INMO say proposals ‘seriously compromise patient safety’. ‘Scaremongering’ says James Reilly >

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Nicky Ryan

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