Parents demand answers over troubled Glasgow hospital

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital complex

The parents of children being treated at a Glasgow hospital have said they have “no confidence” in the local health board.

The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) and the adjoining Royal Hospital for children have been at the centre of concerns about contaminated water.

A group of 15 parents who met on Saturday said they did not believe they were “getting answers”.

Hospital bosses have insisted QEUH has a “safe and effective water supply”.

Worries about the Glasgow hospital campus gathered pace earlier this month when a whistleblower revealed there were 26 cases of infection in 2017 which, according to a doctor-led review, could be linked to contaminated water.

One of those cases involved Milly Main, a 10-year-old girl who developed a fatal infection while recovering from leukaemia treatment.

On Friday it emerged that an inspection report into the QEUH had flagged up concerns over water contamination when it opened in 2015.

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Anas Sarwar

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A group of 15 parents discussed their concerns at a meeting on Saturday

The meeting of families took place at the constituency office of Glasgow MSP Anas Sarwar who has highlighted the concerns at Holyrood.

Charmaine Lacock, acting as spokeswoman for the parents, said: “We have no confidence in the board and do not believe it is fit for purpose.

“The health board’s approach is impacting on our health and well-being when we should be concentrating on caring for our children.

“Those responsible should not remain in place while the investigation happens, as it compromises the investigation and doesn’t give us confidence.”

Mr Sarwar added: “Dozens of worried parents have been in touch following whistleblowers’ claims about the water infection scandal at the QUEH, and they rightly have many questions.

“I share their deep anger at the way the board has covered up this scandal, and their belief that the board is not fit for purpose.

“Senior managers at the hospital must be immediately moved aside to ensure there is a full and independent investigation.”

‘Robust action’

On Thursday NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said all of the issues raised in the inspection reports were acted upon and said routine water sampling has been carried out since the hospital opened.

Specific infection tests were also carried out at the request of infection control doctors when investigating possible infections.

The health board has apologised for any distress caused to parents but said managers had taken “robust action” to address issues at the site and insisted the hospital campus has a “safe and effective water supply”.

The issue of water contamination, which led to the closure of two wards at the children’s hospital in 2018, is currently being looked at by an independent review.

Heath Secretary Jeane Freeman has said water contamination is also expected to looked at by a public inquiry into safety and wellbeing issues at both the QEUH and Edinburgh’s new children’s hospital.

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