The use of NHS wards to treat injured British service personnel alongside civilian patients has been attacked by critics.

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox described the situation as "an absolute disgrace" and said British troops were being "betrayed".

Dr Fox was speaking following reports that a paratrooper, who was wounded in Afghanistan and was being treated at Selly Oak Hospital, was allegedly threatened by a Muslim visitor. The man was said to have told the soldier: "You have been killing my Muslim brothers in Afghanistan."

A relative of the injured paratrooper reportedly said that the soldier had feared for his safety.

Dr Fox said service personnel should be treated in completely separate wings, even if that meant shutting down entire NHS wards.

He said: "It is a betrayal of our troops having them treated in mixed and open wards. For those who have been traumatised in combat, healing of the mind is as important as healing of the body.

"The best place for this to happen is in an exclusive military ward, where they can recover alongside their comrades who understand what they have been through.

"We owe it to those who've risked their lives on our behalf to treat them with dignity."

The Ministry of Defence has no record of the incident.