A WAR of words has erupted over the Royal Alexandra Hospital's sick kids ward...with one campaigning mum suggesting Paisley politician Mhairi Black doesn't care about it's future as she doesn't have children.
In March, health chiefs gave the green light to controversial plans to transfer paediatric inpatient services from Ward 15 at the RAH to the new Royal Hospital for Children, in Glasgow.
Members of the Kids Need Our Ward (KNOW) protest group will come face-to-face with Health Minister Shona Robison in Paisley tomorrow in a last-ditch bid to save the ward from closure.
However, campaigners claim parents have been "frozen out" of the meeting and have accused Ms Black, who hopes to retain the Paisley and Renfrewshire South seat for the SNP at next month's General Election, of hijacking the meeting for political purposes.
Paisley mum Fiona Mack, who has been a prominent supporter of the campaign to save Ward 15, told the Gazette: “I am not at all happy. Ward 15 saved my little boy’s life when he was only five days old.
"It’s about children’s lives, not Mhairi Black. She doesn’t even have children and is not even an MP now. She is just a candidate, who is taking over our meeting for her own political gain.
"My family have thrown ourselves into the KNOW campaign and I visited Mhairi Black, along with other concerned mums, to voice our concern.
"She asked if we wanted to be at the meeting and we all said we did, so I am very angry that we have not received an invitation.”
Ms Black, 22, said she is “deeply saddened" by the comments made by Ms Mack, having met her recently to discuss tomorrow's meeting.
She added: "I have written to Fiona four times since May 9, trying to ensure she received her invite, along with other parents.
"Also, whether I have children is neither here nor there. I made clear to Fiona when she was in my office I do not support these changes."
Ms Robison, who will have the final say on Ward 15's future, will meet with campaigners at the YMCA office in New Street, Paisley, at 2pm tomorrow.
However, KNOW spokesperson Carolann Davidson claims many worried parents who would like to attend the meeting are being left on the sidelines.
Ms Davidson, who was returned as a Labour councillor at this month's local authority elections, said: "It is extremely concerning that the only campaigner or parent that appears to have been invited is myself.
"The families who will be most affected by closing Ward 15 have not been invited.
"I have emailed Ms Black to confirm my attendance at the meeting, instigated by invitation from KNOW, and asking for her to confirm who else has been invited, as I am very concerned that the parents most affected have not been invited and will not get the chance to put their case to save Ward 15, as promised.
"I have still not received a reply."
However, Ms Black has hit back at Ms Davidson's claims.
She said: “To complain I hijacked this meeting is a lie.
"Following the announcement of the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, I wrote to Cabinet Secretary for Health Shona Robison, asking her to come to Renfrewshire and meet with campaigners, as well as putting in very plain terms that I do not agree with the proposed changes.
"From there, it was myself who organised the time, date and location of the meeting.
"There is no hijacking here, I am simply attending a meeting that I arranged."
She added: "To be completely clear, there are six people in total who are active members of the Kids Need Our Ward campaign that will be attending – in a meeting room with a capacity of ten.
"I was arranging this meeting long before the General Election was called and any suggestion to the contrary is untrue.
“I am looking forward to this meeting, where I hope to have a really good discussion about the proposed changes to Ward 15 and hopefully provide some relief to concerned parents."