INVERCLYDE MSP Stuart McMillan has promised to act as he comes under increasing pressure to do something over the closure of the intensive care unit at IRH.

The SNP man says he is demanding answers from NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde after the Tele revealed on Saturday that the vital service had been removed.

The decision came nine months after we revealed that the unit was under threat.

Mr McMillan says he wants to know who made the decisions, why there was no consultation and is demanding the ICU opens back up.

He said: "I think it is an appalling decision and everyone was taken by surprise by the closure on Friday.

"I have written to the chief executive of the health board with a list of very specific questions which I want answered.

"The health board said in the Tele's article in January that there would be consultation.

"I want to know who made the decision - was it the health board, or was it operational.

"I want the ICU back in Inverclyde Royal and I want the decision reversed.

"This is very much a decision taken by the health board and we need to put pressure on them."

The MSP had previously dismissed warnings about cuts as 'scare stories' and that stance has been heavily criticised in light of the latest developments.

Campaigners like Martin McCluskey, who stood for Labour in two general elections, and before then Siobhan McCready - who was Labour's candidate at the last Scottish Parliament election - had highlighted concerns from staff about threats to ICU and other services.

Mr McCluskey says Mr McMillan's intervention is three years too late.

He said: "I first started raising issues about the ICU in 2017 because of concerns raised by member of staff and the unions.

"I spoke about how I needed an emergency operation at the IRH, so I knew how important it was.

"I drew Stuart McMillan's attention to a health board review that was there in black and white and what did he do?

"He said it was scaremongering.

"These were warnings coming from both staff and unions.

"It is important now given the uncertainty that the health board give us clarity and tell us what their intentions are."

Mr McMillan says he will join forces with others to try and save the unit.

He told the Tele: "I have spoken to Councillor Ciano Rebecchi and we agreed this should be cross party issue and we will work together."

Around 10,000 people have signed a petition launched by local Councillor Chris McEleny against the ICU closure.

The loss of the key service follows years of service cuts in Inverclyde, with the GP out of hours service shut down in February.

Last year it was confirmed IRH would no longer treat patients who have suffered life-threatening or serious injuries, as part of a trauma restructure.

Emergency orthopaedic surgery no longer takes place at the hospital either, with 800 patients having to go elsewhere.

The dedicated physical disability rehabilitation unit was also closed down and patients moved to the stroke unit.

It has been under review ever since.

Consultant-led sexual health clinics run by Sandyford have also been changed to nurse-only clinics instead.

Bosses at Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board say the changes to ICU were made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and will be kept under review and that other critical care services will stay.