The Department of Health has said there are no plans to close or remove services from emergency departments at hospitals across the country.

It follows a report in the Sunday Business Post newspaper that major trauma care would be removed from nine hospitals - in Cavan, Naas, Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, Mullingar, Portlaoise, St Luke's in Kilkenny, Wexford, South Tipperary in Clonmel and Mercy University Hospital in Cork.

The proposals are among the recommendations of an unpublished report from the Trauma Steering Group tasked by the previous health minister to look at developing a national trauma network, the paper reports.

The changes, if implemented, would see larger, more specialised emergency departments in some hospitals, while others would then focus on other services.

A spokesperson for Minister for Health Simon Harris said the "group has not yet reported and Minister Harris has not seen any output from this group.

"No report or recommendations have been presented to the minister, and he has made it clear that there are no plans to close or remove services from emergency departments."

A number of government and opposition TDs have issued statements slamming suggestions emergency departments in their constituencies could be downgraded.

Fergal Hickey, consultant in Emergency Medicine at Sligo University Hospital, said the centralisation of major trauma services would be a positive development.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said it would not result in major changes in hospitals.

"The number of patients presenting with genuine major trauma represent a small proportion of an emergency department’s attendance and a hospital's workload.

"So this is not going to engineer huge changes in hospital configuration. That is completely different than a decision to close or downgrade an emergency department."

Mr Hickey is critical of the current situation where he describes people who are critically injured being brought to hospitals that are not equipped to deal with them.

"Everybody in trauma care thinks that it is illogical to be brought to a hospital which can't deal with your needs."

He added that having ambulances bring patients to a hospital that does not have the capacity also does not make sense.

There are parts of the country where the ambulance service is under pressure and that needs to be improved before changes such as these can take place, he added.

"One of the difficulties that politicians fail to see is that once you stop providing one type of service there are opportunities to provide others.

"For example, Roscommon lost its emergency department some years ago but it has been the beneficiary of other services and that has been able to unburden Galway which has been under significant pressure."