The bereaved mother of a baby who died from an infection at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) has “no confidence” in the leadership of the health board, Anas Sarwar has said.
The Scottish Labour leader raised the case of another patient who died following an infection at the Glasgow hospital, saying he had spoken to the mother of a six-month-old who contracted an infection called Serratia.
At First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, he repeated his call for Nicola Sturgeon to sack the board of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
However the First Minister said any suggestion the QEUH is unsafe is not borne out by the evidence, accusing Labour of undermining confidence in the hospital.
She said inquiries into the hospital are ongoing and removing the board during the pandemic would not be responsible.
Sarwar said hospital infections should trigger a “red warning” to ministers, but patients are still becoming infected.
He said he had heard from a mother who lost her baby in recent weeks. The infant had been in the intensive care unit of the children’s hospital at the QEUH campus.
Listed as a cause of death was Serratia, he said, a bacterial infection linked to water and the hospital environment.
Sarwar said: “That mother asked me to raise this case today.
“In her words: ‘I have no confidence in this health board, I have no confidence action will be taken, it is inevitable it will happen again and other patients will be affected.’
“Another child’s death. Another grieving family. What’s it going to take before action is taken?”
The First Minister said the “red warning” system is used for potential infection outbreaks.
She said it will never be possible to prevent every infection in hospitals among patients with compromised immune systems.
A number of reviews are being carried out, she said, and a series of recommendations about the fabric of the building have been acted upon.
Sturgeon said she rejects any suggestion the QEUH is an “unsafe hospital”, saying it contains 11% of all adult acute hospital beds in Scotland but is responsible for only 7% of infection notifications.
The First Minister said: “Every case of infection is serious. The Queen Elizabeth – actually when we look at all of the evidence here – has a lower incidence of infection than many other hospitals.”
She said Labour had published photographs of mould at the hospital without making clear they were from two and four years ago and had been rectified.
Sturgeon said: “That’s what Anas Sarwar did yesterday. I think that is crossing the line from raising legitimate issues to trying to undermine confidence in a hospital and in hard-working clinicians.”
On Wednesday, Labour’s call for the health board to be sacked was rejected by the Government during a debate at Holyrood.
Sarwar also held a press conference with the widow of Andrew Slorance and the mother of Milly Main – two patients who died after being infected at the hospital.