An­other child dies from in­fec­tion at cri­sis hos­pi­tal

Call for ur­gent state­ment as pres­sure mounts on min­is­ter

Scottish Daily Mail - - New Blitz on Terror - By Gavin Made­ley

AN­OTHER vul­ner­a­ble child died of an in­fec­tion at a cri­sis-hit su­per­hos­pi­tal last week, it emerged yes­ter­day.

The news comes as a group of par­ents said they had ‘no con­fi­dence’ in the health board at Glas­gow’s Queen El­iz­a­beth Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal (QEUH).

They have de­manded to be ‘told the truth’ about wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion and in­fec­tions at the hos­pi­tal cam­pus.

The young pa­tient con­tracted a hos­pi­ta­lac­quired in­fec­tion and passed away while be­ing treated last Mon­day.

It is un­der­stood three more hos­pi­ta­lac­quired bug in­ci­dents from the ad­ja­cent Royal Hos­pi­tal for Chil­dren (RHC) have been re­ported to Health Pro­tec­tion Scot­land in the past three weeks.

The news heaps fresh pres­sure on Health Sec­re­tary Jeane Free­man, who has faced calls to quit be­cause of the scan­dal over wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion in child can­cer wards. Since open­ing in 2015, the QEUH and RHC, which share a cam­pus, have faced a se­ries of scan­dals in­clud­ing the death of a ten-year-old boy af­ter he con­tracted a fun­gal in­fec­tion linked to pi­geon drop­pings in the hos­pi­tal.

Milly Main, also ten, died af­ter con­tract­ing an in­fec­tion at the hos­pi­tal in Au­gust 2017. Weeks later a three-year-old, Ma­son Dje­mat, also died.

Health Pro­tec­tion Scot­land re­fused to con­firm the sever­ity of the three most re­cent out­breaks or how many pa­tients had been af­fected. It is be­lieved the child who died had been moved be­tween var­i­ous wards at the fa­cil­ity be­fore pass­ing away last Mon­day night.

On Wed­nes­day, in­fec­tion con­trol ex­perts gath­ered at the £842mil­lion fa­cil­ity, run by Greater Glas­gow and Clyde health board (NHSGGC), to dis­cuss the case and at­tempt to de­ter­mine the source of in­fec­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Her­ald on Sun­day. That probe is still on­go­ing.

The tragedy has height­ened con­cerns about the safety of child can­cer pa­tients be­ing treated in ward 6A af­ter it re­opened last week. The ward was closed down in Au­gust af­ter three young peo­ple were struck down by in­fec­tions in a two-week pe­riod.

They had been trans­ferred from ward 2A in the RHC, which was also closed af­ter dozens of pa­tients con­tracted in­fec­tions. Politi­cians have now called on Miss Free­man to make an ur­gent state­ment to the Scot­tish par­lia­ment tomorrow amid ris­ing anger that pa­tients and their par­ents were be­ing badly let down.

Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive health spokesman Miles Briggs of­fered his con­do­lences to the child’s fam­ily, and added: ‘Fam­i­lies need to be told the truth. It is clear that an ur­gent in­ves­ti­ga­tion must now pro­ceed to es­tab­lish the true facts and whether the in­fec­tion de­vel­oped in the hos­pi­tal.

‘Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives are de­mand­ing Jeane Free­man comes to Holy­rood on Tues­day to make an ur­gent state­ment.’ Scot­tish

Labour health spokesman Mon­ica Len­non said the child’s fam­ily would ‘need answers’ and should be kept fully in­formed as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pro­gresses.

She added: ‘It must be es­tab­lished if the in­fec­tion was linked to the wa­ter sup­ply.’

Last week, the Scot­tish Daily Mail re­ported that health chiefs were warned by in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tors about in­fec­tion risk in the cam­pus’s wa­ter sup­ply when it opened four years ago.

Leaked re­ports from NHS Es­tates re­veal that de­spite the ini­tial warn­ing, ‘no sig­nif­i­cant’ ac­tion was taken to deal with the threat of in­fec­tion or min­imise risk for more than two years.

Fif­teen par­ents with chil­dren re­ceiv­ing treat­ment at the cam­pus said yes­ter­day they had ‘no con­fi­dence’ in the health board.

Anas Sar­war, Labour MSP for Glas­gow, said NHSGGC chief ex­ec­u­tive Jane Grant needed to step down. He added ‘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.’

The health board said it was lim­ited in what it could say about the child’s death.

An NHSGGC spokesman said: ‘We need to take care when dis­cussing in­di­vid­ual cases as we are bound by strict rules of pa­tient con­fi­den­tial­ity.’

Miss Grant said yes­ter­day: ‘I am ab­so­lutely com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing fam­i­lies are pro­vided with the in­for­ma­tion they need and de­serve.

‘Fam­i­lies should be re­as­sured that in­fec­tion rates at present are within ex­pected lev­els and the hos­pi­tal is safe.’

She said ‘there was no at­tempt to ig­nore’ tech­ni­cal re­ports on the wa­ter sup­ply qual­ity ‘once they were brought to my at­ten­tion’.

Miss Grant added: ‘I en­sured that im­me­di­ate steps and nec­es­sary ac­tion was taken to pro­vide as­sur­ance about the safety of the wa­ter sup­ply.’

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