A major report into infections at Glasgow’s flagship hospital has found a spike around the time of a young cancer patient’s death.

Analysis by Health Protection Scotland (HPS) highlighted “months in which rates of positive blood samples were higher than would be expected”, including in summer 2017.

However, it said there is no evidence of a single point of exposure causing bloodstream infections – and officials stressed the cancer ward is safe.

Milly Main, 10, who had been receiving treatment for leukaemia at the Royal Children's Hospital in Glasgow, part of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus, died after a catheter used to administer drugs became infected.

Her mother, Kimberly Darroch, has said she is “100%” certain the water supply was behind the infection.

Meanwhile, police previously confirmed they investigated the death of a three-year-old boy, Mason Djemat, who died at the hospital just weeks before Milly.

Two wards at the children's hospital were closed more than a year ago for work to be carried out after safety concerns were raised.

The latest report was published after a whistleblower raised concerns with Scottish Labour MSP Anas Sarwar.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde apologised to the families affected and said it hoped the report's full findings will help reassure others of the site's safety.

Jane Grant, chief executive of the board, said: "We completely understand this has been a distressing time for families and staff, and we sympathise with them given the anxiety this has caused.

"Unfortunately there will always be a small number of patients who develop infections because of the seriousness of their illness and we are fully committed to supporting them and their families when this occurs.

"Families should be reassured that infection rates at present are within expected levels and the hospital is safe.

"We continue to support families affected at this time and we welcome the opportunity to work with parents and Professor Craig White, who has been appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Health [Jeane Freeman], to improve our performance in this area.

"We are all fully committed to ensuring that questions are answered fully and parents reassured."

Ms Darroch, 35, thanked the NHS whistleblower for coming forward in a statement.

She said: "As a result of their action, we now have more information about infections at the hospital that we were never told about as a family at the time.

"We didn't know there was a spike in infections around the time Milly died, which is why we now want answers.

"The silence from the health board must come to an end so that no parent ever has to go through what we have been through."

Professor Jason Leitch, national clinical director of the Scottish Government, said the HPS review was commissioned by the Chief Nursing Officer in September to determine if the number of positive blood samples for infections among child cancer patients was higher than expected.

He said: “The report identifies months in which rates of infection exceeded the trigger point requiring further investigation.

“These data confirm there was a spike in infections in 2018 – this led to the interventions over water contamination and the closure of wards 2A and 2B.

“These data also confirm higher levels of infections in 2017 and these incidents are part of the reason the Scottish Government announced last week that the board has been elevated to stage 4 of the NHS Board Performance Escalation Framework.

“This means a Scottish Government led Oversight Board will help strengthen the measures already in place around infection prevention, management and control. It will also ensure the recommendations of this report are actioned.

“The present infection rate at the children’s hospital is normal and the cancer ward is safe."

Mr Sarwar said the report confirmed the information exposed by the whistleblower.

He said: "Without them, this scandal may never have come to light. There are now clearly a number of serious questions about the above-average infection rates in 2017, and the upper warning limit being breached around the time Milly tragically died.

“Now that this information has come to light, the health board must urgently explain why this was hidden from the public, whether the parents of all children have been informed, why repeated warnings were ignored, and why action wasn’t taken that could have prevented tragedy.

“We now know that the upper limit was again breached as recently as September this year.

“With the health board in special measures, it’s vital that parents, patients and the public receive answers and full transparency.”