STAFF working at Arrowe Park Hospital's Accident and Emergency unit have launched a fight back against an MP's criticism.

Following an inspection of the unit by the Care Quality Commission, Birkenhead MP Frank Field wrote to the health secretary Matt Hancock last week saying he felt "sheer horror" at the way patients were treated.

READ>Health Secretary asked to step in to 'rescue' Arrowe Park Hospital A&E

Mr Field told him: "The findings make clear that notwithstanding the valiant efforts of front line staff at the hospital, my constituents are exposed to unacceptably high levels of risk.

"The RSPCA would never allow animals to be put at risk in this way - so why should my constituents be let down so badly?"

Now Nicky Drinkwater, A&E Practice Development Nurse, has written to Mr Field inviting him to visit the department and saying: "There is nothing more disheartening than coming home after a busy stressful day and reading in your local newspaper that the 'RSPCA would not put animals at risk in this way.'

"Whether intentional or not, this particular statement gives the perception that animals are treated better than the patients within our care.

"Mr Field you couldn’t be further from the truth.

"This particular statement has had a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of the whole team within the department which because of the support of the wider hospital and the interventions that have been implemented had significantly improved.

"The ED staff are caring, compassionate and take ownership of their department and have had the courage to speak up and make change happen."

The letter has been signed by scores of staff who work in the department.

Mr Field has accepted the invitation to visit and in his written reply said: "I was keen to note in my letter to the minister that, while there are some areas of grave concern, these are notwithstanding the valiant efforts of staff within ED.

"While the staff cannot be faulted, those problems which have been identified by the CQC clearly need to be addressed through a series of structural reforms.

"Along similar lines, I very much hope that colleagues working in the ED will be assured to know that I am actively pursuing a new procedure to handle complaints around bullying.

"This problem has been brought to my attention by several members of staff within ED, and elsewhere, over the past couple of years."

Among issues in A&E discovered by the the watchdog were:

Patients were regularly left for long periods on trolleys in corridors.

There were significant delays in most aspects of the service including triage delays of more than two hours.

Waiting for a specialist to review a case could take more than 14 hours.

Levels of paediatric-trained nurses overnight did not meet minimum standards.

Risk of infection was not well controlled.