SCOTLAND'S largest health board has apologised for the distress cause to parents after the deaths of two children in 2017.

It comes as health minister Jeane Freeman threatened to put Scotland's largest health board into "special measures" over child deaths at a 'super-hospital'.

She said one of her options was for the Scottish Government to take a "more interventionist role" in the running of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GCC).

She admitted there was a "great deal of concern" over the way health board handled the deaths of a three-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl at Royal Hospital for Children (RHC), part of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus in Glasgow.

Ms Freeman is due to make statement to Parliament later this week.

Milly Main, 10, and a three-year-old boy died three weeks apart in August 2017.

Both were treated in a ward at the Royal Hospital for Children at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus which was later closed because of problems with the water supply, according to newspaper reports.

HeraldScotland: Health Secretary Jeane Freeman

Last week Milly's mother said was "100%" convinced her death was linked to water contamination issues.

The health board has now responded to continuing concerns saying: "We are truly sorry for the distress recent events have caused parents and we wish to make it clear we are taking these matters extremely seriously.

"We continue to work to ensure any questions or concerns raised by parents of past and current patients are answered fully and truthfully."

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.

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."

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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."