Scotland's Health Secretary has "great concerns" over handling of Glasgow's scandal-hit hospital

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Scotland's Health Secretary has said she has "a great deal of concerns" over the way Glasgow's health board has handled a scandal-hit hospital - and has not ruled out Government intervention.

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland on Monday, Jeane Freeman said putting NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) in special measures is "always an option".

Scotland's Health Secretary has "great concerns" over handling of Glasgow's scandal-hit hospital.

Scotland's Health Secretary has "great concerns" over handling of Glasgow's scandal-hit hospital.

Ms Freeman said she would be making a statement at Holyrood this week on the matter.

Last used on a beleaguered NHS Tayside in 2018, special measures mean the Scottish Government takes a more direct role in the management of a chosen health board.

NHSGGC has again come under fire after it emerged that police are investigating the death of a three-year-old boy at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in August 2017, the same month as 10-year-old Milly Main.

Two wards at the Royal Hospital for Children - on the same campus as QEUH - were closed in September last year following concerns from Health Protection Scotland over incidents of water contamination.

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Milly's mother, Kimberly Darroch, said she is "100%" certain her daughter died due to infected water at the hospital.

Ms Freeman said: "Later this week, I will make a statement on all of these matters and it is not appropriate for me to say this morning, before I make my statement to Parliament, what it is I'm going to do."

Asked if the use of special measures is an option, Ms Freeman replied: "It's always an option. It's something that we've done before in other cases, so of course it's an option to look at how we escalate any board.

"By escalation, that means that the Government takes a more interventionist role."

The Health Secretary also said she had "concerns" about the handling of the deaths of Milly and the three-year-old boy, named by the Daily Record as Mason Djemat.

She said: "I have a great deal of concern and I have made it really clear that it is unacceptable for this board or any board not to fully inform families.

"A matter of weeks ago, when I met families whose children are in the haematology and oncology wards... following that, I made sure I put someone into that board to make sure families got the detailed answers from the board they are entitled to and required.

"It's clear, by what I've done, that I take this very seriously indeed.

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"Families are entitled to know these matters and the board should act on them."

Ahead of the appearance of Ms Freeman before the Health and Sport Committee at Holyrood on Tuesday, convener Lewis Macdonald has said members have "deep concerns" about the hospital.

He said: "The issues at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Edinburgh's new Sick Kids Hospital are of deep concern to our committee.

"We want to ensure that the public inquiry into the various issues these health facilities have faced is progressing.

"We also want to know what progress has been made in creating a new national body to oversee NHS building projects in future and that the issues regarding the disposal of clinical waste are being addressed.

"It is absolutely vital that patients in Scotland have faith that all healthcare facilities in Scotland meet the most robust standards of safety and cleanliness and pose no threat to their health."