Health boss blames former board over infection scandal
THE head of Glasgow’s health board has blamed the previous leadership team for its handling of the infections outbreak and safety of the water supply.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde chief executive Jane Grant said she was not made aware of reports the water was not safe when the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital opened in 2015 until last year.
Ms Grant spoke out after Glasgow MSP Anas Sarwar said she and the current management should be “moved aside” while the infection outbreak is investigated.
In 2017, 10-year-old Milly Main died at the children’s hospital from an infection, which has been linked to contaminated water.
Ms Grant issued a statement saying infections rates were “within expected levels”.
Mr Sarwar revealed reports last week that showed concerns with the water supply as far back as 2015 and that doctors raised concerns about infection months before Milly died.
Ms Grant said: “Every member of the team has been entirely committed throughout this difficult period to ensuring the safety and quality of care of the children.
“This has not been easy given the challenges we inherited from the previous leadership team and we accept communications with the families could have been better but I remain convinced we have the right people to take the Royal Hospital for Children forward so that it fulfils its potential to be one of the leading children’s hospitals in the UK.”
She added that “technical reports on the quality of the water supplies at the QEUH Campus mentioned by Mr Sarwar in the Scottish Parliament were not brought to the Senior Leadership Team’s attention until 2018”.
She said once aware she ensured “immediate action” to provide assurances about the safety of the water.
She said there were no attempts to ignore the reports once brought to her attention.
Ms Grant added: “I would, therefore, hope the families who have called for changes at the top of the organisation can accept that the current leadership team have made significant efforts to address the situation.”
Mr Sarwar said: “The chief executive is ultimately responsible for the rotten culture of fear and intimidation at this hospital.
“It should never have taken brave whistleblowers to come forward for this scandal to emerge.
“Without them, parents would still be in the dark.
“Yet when the cover-up was exposed, health board chiefs resorted to attacking the whistleblowers in an attempt to silence them, and now they are trying to shift the blame to others.
“While senior managers remain in place there is a risk the investigation will be compromised, which is why they should be moved aside – as would surely have happened in a criminal investigation if this was in the private sector.”
Glasgow MSP Anas Sarwar criticised a ‘culture of fear’ at the hospital