AN MP fears beds are being privatised at a Wirral hospital.

Wallasey MP Angela Eagle has requested a meeting with health bosses to discuss the news that from Saturday, 30 beds in a purpose-built ward at Clatterbridge Hospital will be staffed entirely by private healthcare provider Four Seasons as part of a plans to deal with increased demand over winter.

Ms Eagle said: "I am shocked Wirral University Hospital Trust has decided to privatise an NHS ward at Clatterbridge.

"This is one more example of the misguided privatisation agenda that is being pursued by this Government.

"Everyone agrees that there is a need for more beds to ease the winter pressures on the NHS - but privatisation is not the answer.

"There are serious questions that need to be asked about why the trust went behind everyone’s backs, including the Clinical Commissioning Group, and appointed a private healthcare provider.

"Not only is an NHS ward being privatised without any consultation, but I have serious concerns about the quality of care that will be provided, as worries surrounding the financial stability of Four Seasons have surfaced.

"The Care Quality Commission have also raised concerns about Four Seasons, and have advised local authorities to ensure they have contingency plans in place."

She added: "I will be seeking urgent explanation from Wirral University Hospital Trust about the processes behind this contract.

"There is no reason why these beds could not have been provided by the NHS, like the 18 new beds that will be opening at Arrowe Park Hospital to cope with winter pressures."

A trust spokesman said: "Our priority is to provide safe patient care but in the right location.

"This is about protecting important NHS services over what will be a demanding winter.

"This new purpose-built facility is for patients who no longer need acute medical care in our main hospital wards.

"It does not replace any of our current wards.

"As reported nationally, we are seeing more unwell and poorly patients coming through our emergency department.

"Many of these patients are now requiring an acute hospital bed.

"This purpose built stepdown facility of 30 additional capacity beds offers a solution for patients who are medically well to leave an acute hospital bed, to carry on their recovery before they head back home or to another care setting.

"This stepdown solution is already established in the Wirral community by other independent sector providers."

Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group said: "We are aware of the additional winter capacity at Clatterbridge.

"We are working hard as a system to ensure good patient flow, and good outcomes for patients during the winter season."