IF the past week's revelations should tell us anything, it is that no good can come from trying to keep explosive information secret in the NHS.

That has been demonstrated in Scotland by revelations of an unpublished report into a string of infections and a 10-year-old girl's death at Glasgow's children's hospital, and in England by a bombshell report into mother and baby deaths over 40 years at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.

The latter has been described as the largest maternity scandal in NHS history. Between 1979 and 2017, clinical malpractice claimed the lives of at least 42 infants and three mothers. Dozens more babies were left permanently brain damaged by blunders during birth or harmed by substandard care, and with more than 600 cases now being examined the final total of victims is only expected to grow.

Among the key findings of the report were a "long-term lack of transparency, honesty and communication with families when things go wrong". Investigations into adverse incidents were "overly defensive of staff", and substandard investigations meant that lessons were not learnt and the same clinical errors were repeated time and again. Perhaps most damning of all was the "distinct lack of kindness and respect" shown to bereaved families.

Much of this chimes with the experiences described by families of cancer patients who have been struck by infections at Glasgow Royal Hospital for Children and the adjacent Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Kimberly Darroch, the mother of leukaemia patient Milly Main, after discovering from a newspaper report that her daughter's death with a bacterial infection in 2017 had been linked in an internal probe to a possible water contamination.

"I feel they knew this was the infection that killed my daughter but no-one came forward to tell us," she said. "If they had told us at the time it would have been a hard pill to swallow but I would have swallowed it if they had just been honest."

The fact that the findings of investigation into infections in RHC's paediatric cancer wards 2A and 2B had been kept under wraps - not even shared with Scotland's Health Secretary, let alone parents - can only backfire in the end by creating the suspicion of a cover up.

That the health board went on to publicly criticise the whistleblower who had brought the report to light, via MSP Anas Sarwar, only exacerbated that suspicion.

After a string infection crises, including the deaths of two cancer patients who had contracted an infection linked to pigeon droppings, the best way to restore trust is with transparency - not secrecy.

Yet this seems to be another lesson NHS bosses, UK-wide, repeatedly fail to heed.