Two more children died at Glasgow hospital after contracting infections, Anas Sarwar tells Nicola Sturgeon
Anas Sarwar has revealed shocking claims of two more children dying in a scandal-stricken hospital after contracting infections.
The Scottish Labor leader said clinicians had reached out to him to make allegations about Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow (QUEH).
He told Nicola Sturgeon that there had been a deadly Aspergillus in a child with cancer around the same time, and in the same department, as in the case of tragic civil servant Andrew Slorance.
Father of five Andrew died in the QUEH in December 2020 and his wife Louise accused NHS bosses of failing to inform her of repeated references to aspergillus in his medical notes.
Sarwar also said a doctor had told him in the past two months about a case of a child who contracted a waterborne infection and died.
He said: “Last week I brought up the case of Andrew Slorance who died at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow after contracting a fungal infection, Aspergillus, which is linked to water and the environment.
“Since then, I have been approached by senior clinicians who have spoken out about two more deaths.
“Another case of Aspergillus in a pediatric cancer patient at about the same time, in the same ward as Andrew.
“And in the last two months, a kid in the children’s hospital got a waterborne infection — like Milly Main — and died.”
Tragic Milly, a 10-year-old cancer patient, died in the QUEH in 2017 after contracting an infection “probably” related to the hospital environment
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Sarwar continued: “Nicola Sturgeon’s answers are no longer good enough, she led this scandal from start to finish.
“This is gross negligence.”
Sarwar said NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde as well as the Scottish Government Oversight Board and the Prime Minister had all failed.
He said, “She must fire the health board in charge. Today. Fire the oversight board. Today. And use emergency powers to take control of this hospital.”
The senior clinicians of the QEUH have also spoken out.
Labor said they were doing this anonymously because of fears of retaliation “because of the culture of bullying and intimidation” on the part of the board.
Senior Clinician A said: “I think there are serious questions for the Health Board and the Scottish Government. Are they doing enough to protect people?
“There was another case of Aspergillus around the same time as Andrew Slorance and in the same department.
“A child with cancer died in November 2020 after contracting the infection.
“It begs the question – if there was a case as early as November 4, what did the health board do to investigate it? Did they look for an environmental source and could future infections be prevented?
“In cases like this, where two patients have died of Aspergillus in a short period of time, an HIIAT Red report should have been filed and therefore the Health Secretary should have been informed.
“Why was that not acted on then? We could have missed the opportunity to prevent later infections and deaths.”
Senior clinician B said, “There is a culture of bullying and intimidation.
“Despite reassurances from the Health Council and the Scottish Government, there are still cases of infection related to water and the environment, including Stenotrophomonas.
“There is a culture of denial and the lack of proper research into these cases.
“The result is inactivity with potentially fatal consequences.
“In recent months there has been at least one death at the children’s hospital in which a child was infected with a bacteria related to water and the environment.
“We cannot hide behind a public inquiry. We need urgent action now so that we can make it safe and provide the necessary reassurance about the risk to the environment and water supply.”
Sturgeon said she would investigate the cases “urgently”.
She said of the first Aspergillus case: “I will investigate the specific issue that has been raised and I will come back to Anas Sarwar. These are important issues again. I do not have the details of the case that he raises, But I’ll definitely look into this as a matter of priority.”
She also said, “Let me say this very clearly and very bluntly – no doctor should fear bullying or intimidation if they come forward.”
She added: “Firing a health board doesn’t change practice in a hospital overnight, so the real work has to be done. If concerns are raised about someone’s cause of death, then it needs to be properly investigated so that the action that is then taken as a result is the right action.”
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