Bosses from Birmingham Children's Hospital came under fire from parents last night after admitting a ward may have to shut to cut costs.

Relatives of youngsters treated at the hospital voiced their anger at a public meeting organised by East Birmingham PPI Forum at St Paul's Church in Bordesley Green.

Chris Gibbs, spokesman for Birmingham Children's Hospital, told the meeting that ward three, threatened with closure, had not been working to full capacity.

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"There will be no redundancies. The unit has 44 beds but is always working at a lower occupancy with only 20 beds," he said.

Mr Gibbs said consultations were on-going with parents of patients and no final decision had been made.

Peter Hodgkinson, ward three manager, stressed that the needs of the patients using the mental health unit needed to be taken into consideration.

He said the hospital needed to redirect funds to make sure beds were not taken away.

Catherine Simpson, whose daughter was treated on the ward, said: "The ward offers a valued service. My child has been able to attend school and get back to normal because of the specialist staff. I hope to God that this closure doesn't happen."

Julie West, from Lichfield, said her son had used the ward's facilities in November last year.

"Within six weeks he was able to start working again," she said. "This is a credit to the staff.

"You do not appreciate something until it has been taken away. My son will never need ward three again but had he not had the opportunity he could have still have been in his wheelchair or with a walking frame."