A FORMER nurse bidding to become Inverclyde's next MP says the health secretary must step in and guarantee the future of intensive care beds in Inverclyde Royal.

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde health board are reviewing the unit and LibDem candidate Jacci Stoyle says she is growing increasingly concerned about the possible consequences of that exercise.

The process has been conducted behind the scenes, sparking concern that there is a lack of clarity on whether the unit will be maintained or disappear.

Former night sister Ms Stoyle says she has written to the Scottish Government demanding reassurances.

She said: “The loss of intensive care beds at Inverclyde Royal Hospital would be devastating to the community.

"It would seriously impact the range of surgery that could be offered locally.

“It is important that Scottish ministers act quickly to reassure local people.”

Labour election candidate Martin McCluskey raised the alarm over the future of the ward earlier this year.

He warns that the review will determine whether the hospital would be able to carry out surgery.

The Tele first highlighted the issue two years ago and since then documents have been obtained by campaigners which show that the heath board is reviewing the service.

Mr McCluskey said: "It makes me really angry when it is suggested there is scaremongering.

"In 2017, nurses at IRH raised concerns about the future of the ITU and at the time the health board said there were no plans for change.

"Local SNP politicians called into question the honesty of campaigners and unions who also raised concerns.

"This confidential paper, which I obtained through Freedom of Information laws, seems to suggest that the future of this unit is still being questioned by the health board.

"At the time, nurses said that removing the ITU could mean that serious surgery could not be performed at IRH.

"I know first hand how important this unit is - when I had emergency surgery in 2015 I was treated in this unit and if it wasn't here, I would most likely been sent to another hospital."

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde says it has 'no update' on the review at present.