Jeane Freeman must "resign or be sacked" over child hospital death say Tories

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman is facing calls to "resign or be sacked" after it emerged that she knew of the death of a child with cancer in Scotland's biggest hospital was linked to contaminated water.

The Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow has been at the centre of previous infection concerns
The Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow has been at the centre of previous infection concerns

Ms Freeman's actions have been branded "unacceptable" after she refused to go public about the case which happened in September, citing patient confidentiality. The details only came to light this week after a whistleblower contacted the Labour MSP Anas Sarwar about the death in the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow.

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"There’s no way Jeane Freeman can continue in the role now the details of this case have been made clear," Mr Briggs said.

“It should not take a whistleblower and an opposition MSP to drag the truth out of this SNP government. It’s completely unacceptable.

“Patients will be absolutely furious that such a serious failure has been covered up by this SNP government.

“The health secretary must apologise to the family and resign or, if she refuses, be sacked.”

Mr Sarwar has demanded a full public inquiry, said: “This isn’t just a scandal, it’s a heartbreaking human tragedy.”

Ms Freeman has defended her actions, insisting she had been bound by patient confidentiality.

“I receive a great deal of correspondence from individuals about particular patient issues and I don’t reveal that because that would be entirely wrong for me to do,’ she said.

“Not revealing is not the same as not acting on it and I acted on it.”

The revelations of the contamination emerged following investigations into infections in children in the cancer wards at the hospital in 2018. Two wards were closed and patients moved as Health Protection Scotland investigated water contamination incidents.

Twenty three cases of blood stream infections with organisms potentially linked to water contamination were identified between 29 January and 26 September 2018.

But a whistleblower told Mr Sarwar that 26 cases of similar infections in children in the cancer wards were also found in 2017, with one child dying after contracting an infection.