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Thousands expected to take to the streets in support of Navan Hospital

The ‘Monster Rally’ is being held to protest over ongoing cuts to services at Navan Hospital.

Protesters at a rally last year to save the hospital
Protesters at a rally last year to save the hospital
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

LARGE CROWDS ARE expected to take to the streets in Meath this afternoon to protest over cuts to services at Navan Hospital.

The “Monster Rally” is being held to call on the government to reverse cuts to the hospital where beds have been closed, operating theatre hours have decreased, and all agency staff are to go by the start of next month.

Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín said the major cuts to the hospitals in the Louth-Meath area over the past 33 months are proving dangerous to patient safety.

“Frontline staff are being let go and are not being replaced,” he told TheJournal.ie. He said that up to 200 agency staff will not be rehired between 1 September and 1 December, leading to less staff treating the same number of patients.

The government plans to move A&E services from Navan Hospital to Our Lady’s Hospital in Drogheda. However opponents say Drogheda will not have the capacity to deal with the extra patients.

“Drogheda is second only to Beaumont [in Dublin] for the number of patients on trolleys,” said Tóibín. “It’s getting worse year on year – it’s going in the wrong direction, and this can only get worse if Navan services are moved there”.

Tóibín said the two aims of the protest are to reverse the cuts that are being implemented and to stop A&E services from being reduced at the hospital.

The HSE has said that up to 50 beds are to close and the use of agency staff is to be curtailed across the three hospitals in Louth and Meath in a bid to meet its budgetary targets.

Read: ‘Grave concerns’ over controversial HSE plan to fire hospital staff >

Read: Talks on Louth-Meath Hospital Group dispute resume >

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