A British Army officer has been abused by Asian women while on a hospital visit to troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Company Sergeant Major Neil Powell was surrounded and heckled by three young women in the unprovoked verbal attack at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.
The women, in traditional Asian dress, ranted about the presence of British troops in Muslim countries.
The incident took place in a public area of the hospital used by both civilians and military personnel.
In recent months the standard of treatment for soldiers at Selly Oak has been widely criticised. Military personnel have called for greater protection and privacy away from civilian patients and visitors.
CSM Powell works as a welfare officer for soldiers wounded while fighting insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. He was on a regular visit to the wards when the incident occurred on May 10.
He told officers about the abuse but declined to lodge an official complaint. He feared such a negative report would adversely affect the morale of young soldiers who are flown to Selly Oak from the battlefield with horrific injuries.
A colleague said: "He is normally a very placid character, a gentle giant. But he was fuming, understandably, after what happened.
"He couldn’t believe it. CSM Powell just had to stand and take abuse from these screaming and very aggressive women. I don’t think a guy would have got away with it.
"A lot of soldiers are worried that something more serious could happen. There isn’t much security here."
But the Labour MP for Selly Oak, Lynne Jones, refused to back calls for more secure facilities for troops.
She said: "The soldiers seem to want a little empire consisting of their own designated staff and facilities, a fiefdom.
"The point of basing the Centre for Defence Medicine at Selly Oak was to make the most of the range of experience here. The priority should always be the standard of clinical care.
"When I’ve visited the military ward it has been cluttered with staff."
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer said: "We have reason to be extremely cautious about the security of wounded British soldiers and those who care for them.
"Earlier this year, we were told there was a detailed plan to capture a soldier in Birmingham and torture him.
"This incident demonstrates that our troops and their welfare staff are vulnerable. This is an issue we ignore at our peril."
CSM Powell said: "There was a minor incident. Sorry, I am not willing to talk about it. My concern is the morale of the fighting troops.
"I have my own opinions and part of my job is to address those opinions, but I also have a chain of command."
In recent years defence chiefs have closed military hospitals, which benefited from greater security, to cut costs.
As a result, all casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan are streamed through Selly Oak on their return to Britain.
One ward is dedicated to treating injured soldiers, and they are also cared for on other wards alongside civilians.
The Ministry of Defence segregates soldiers according to where they were wounded, either in Iraq or Afghanistan. There are single rooms for the most serious casualties and they are treated by military doctors and nurses.
An MoD spokeswoman said: "A military member of staff was heckled by a small group. He has no clear recollection of what was said and took no formal action.
"It would not be appropriate for me to comment on what Lynne Jones has said."