FM Told to ‘Back or Sack’ Health Board Bosses Over Hospital Infection Scandal

Tom Eden

November 29, 2021

Calls for health board bosses to be sacked over the deadly infection scandal at Glasgow’s flagship hospital will be debated at Holyrood this week.

Scottish Labour will lead a debate on Wednesday to renew calls for senior management of the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) health board to be sacked as a result of the infection scandal at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH).

Leader Anas Sarwar last week demanded that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon bring the hospital under direct ministerial control and sack senior management figures amid concern about waterborne infections at QEUH.

At First Minister’s Questions, Mr Sarwar revealed that a further two deaths at the hospital may have been linked to the infected water supply.

Ms Sturgeon argued that "sacking a health board does not change overnight the practice in a hospital".

But Mr Sarwar has now called on the First Minister to "decide if she is on the side of bereaved families and bullied clinicians, or out-of-touch managers" when the motion is debated in the Scottish Parliament.

He said: "The ongoing scandal at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is the greatest of the devolution era, but the SNP government has failed to act.

"Lives have been lost, families have been shattered and whistle-blowers have been put under incredible strain."

"In any other country, there would be resignations and sackings. But under this SNP government, it has been nothing but denial and cover-up."

"This must be a line in the sand, Nicola Sturgeon must decide if she is on the side of bereaved families and bullied clinicians, or out-of-touch managers."

"She has a straight choice on the leadership of the health board – back them or sack them."

"That’s why this week in Parliament, Scottish Labour will give all parties the chance to do right by the families affected and vote to send a message to this Government that words are not enough."

Responding to Mr Sarwar, Ms Sturgeon said: "When concerns are raised about the cause of someone’s death, then that has to be properly investigated so that the action that is then taken as a result of that is the right action."

While she accepted "these are serious matters", she added: "We do not do justice to the families concerned if we simply call for action that is not based on proper investigation, proper scrutiny and proper consideration."

Following FMQs, a spokesperson for NHSGGC said: "In the past 24 hours, the QEUH/RHC (Royal Hospital for Children) and specifically the treatment provided to our patients has continued to be called into question."

"Hearing such speculation and allegations has been extremely difficult for our staff and patients alike."

The spokesperson said the continued claims that NHSGGC was failing to be transparent across all areas of patient care and building safety were "of serious concern".

This article contains information from PA Media.

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