No decision has been made on the future of Our Lady's Hospital in Navan and its emergency department according to the Health Minister, while the HSE is denying the potential plans are a downgrade of the facility.
The move, which has angered some locals, will see the emergency department replaced with a medical assessment unit and a local injury unit.
The hospital's intensive care beds will also close.
If the emergency department does close it would mean there is no A&E in county Meath meaning that people seeking emergency medical attention would have to travel to the nearest departments which at at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda or Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.
Both journeys would take around 30 minutes, but the trip to Blanchardstown is around 45 kilometres longer.
The HSE's Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry denied the plan for Navan Hospital is a downgrade saying, "we want Navan to flourish to continue to have a medical assessment unit, and a local injury unit and develop its services.
"We want to divert people at the point at which they get sick at home or at their workplace to the right hospital the first time because the outcomes are better."
In a statement, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: "No decision regarding the HSE’s proposal for the transition of the Emergency Department at Our Lady’s Hospital Navan (OLHN) has been agreed by this government."The HSE has clinical concerns about the safety of the Emergency Department at Navan. "I asked the HSE to outline those concerns and consult with elected representatives on behalf of the local community. That meeting took place yesterday (Monday, June 13). "I have heard clearly the concerns of clinicians in Navan as to the ongoing safety concerns of operating a small Emergency Department. I have also heard the concerns of clinicians at other hospitals that would be impacted at a time when all health services are under such pressure. "Several important issues, including additional capacity in other hospitals impacted, as well as the continued ability of people in the Navan area to access emergency and urgent care, would need to be fully addressed before any proposed transition by the HSE takes place."