St Michael's Hospital in Dún Laoghaire in Dublin has said suggestions that it is to be downgraded are incorrect.

The hospital said the Emergency Department continues to operate ?from 8am to 8pm? seven days a week and that it recently expanded the department, with the addition of three new cubicles which opened this month.

It was responding to claims by some parties in the General Election campaign that it is to be downgraded.

The hospital said plans were also under way to open a new theatre and have ongoing improvement to diagnostic, laboratory services.

"Suggestions that we are 'downgrading' our hospital are incorrect, unsettling and upsetting for our patients, our staff and the communities of south Dublin and Wicklow whose healthcare interests we continue to serve," the hospital said in a statement.

The hospital said that all surgical cover and services remain in place and that all patients with a surgical condition attending the emergency department there continue to be assessed by the surgical cover in the hospital. 

It said it had always been the case that in certain instances, depending on the clinical need of the patient, individuals may be redirected to St Vincent's University Hospital, which is an acute hospital, for appropriate treatment and care.

St Michael's is part of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group.