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Senior managers at crisis-hit hospital urged to step down

Anas Sarwar has accused senior managers of 'ignoring repeated warnings' at the hospital.

By STV News

Published 29 Nov 2019.

Senior managers accused of ignoring warnings over the risk of infections at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) have been urged to step down.

A report leaked by a whistleblower is said to have shown NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) was told areas of the flagship QEUH campus were at a "high risk" of infections before opening in 2015.

Another two reports, also leaked to Labour MSP Anas Sarwar, suggested issues were still pervasive at the hospital in 2017 and 2018.

The death of 10-year-old Milly Main in August 2017 after she had been treated for cancer has been linked to an infection caused by contaminated water.

Her mother, Kimberly Darroch, 35, from Lanark, said she is "100%" certain contaminated water caused the infection.

Sarwar has now said those responsible should step aside.

"The senior managers who ignored repeated warnings about the risk of infections at the hospital should not be in their posts today," said Sarwar.

"You wouldn't have suspects in a crime scene walking around the building. By remaining on the scene, they compromise the investigation.

"Now that the health board is in special measures, senior managers must be moved aside and a truly independent system put in place to run the hospital until public confidence is fully restored."

A public inquiry into issues at the hospital has been called by health secretary Jeane Freeman, while the board also issued an apology to families affected by infections.

Sarwar added: "Whilst a wider public inquiry is welcome, this can't wait for that to conclude - if this was the private sector, there would be a criminal investigation.

"Kimberly's heartbreaking comments that she believes Milly would still be alive should utterly shame those in charge at the time.

"I have promised Milly's family and other families affected to keep fighting for the truth and I will continue to support the brave whistle-blowers who brought this to light."

The health board has assured the safety of patients is an "absolute priority" and said senior managers took "robust action" to address issues.

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: "We fully acknowledge that there have been issues at this site and senior managers sought to take robust action to address these issues when they became aware of them.

"We led, and asked for expert help, to investigate and resolve these issues and reports about these incidents are available to the public.

"In response to ongoing issues, we commissioned a further comprehensive independent technical review in 2018 which we believe can help inform the cabinet secretary's wider external independent review into design, construction and maintenance of the QEUH/RHC.

"The potential link between the water supply and cases of infection in 2018 has already been fully reported.

"The Health Protection Scotland report highlights all the actions that were taken by the board - together with an acknowledgement that patient safety is at the forefront of our considerations.

"This has now resulted in a safe and effective water supply."