THE culture within Scotland’s biggest health board “is rotten to the core”, a Labour MSP has claimed, after another child fatality at Glasgow’s super-hospital.

Anas Sarwar accused NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde of intimidation and secrecy, and said he believed it had kept Health Secretary Jeane Freeman “in the dark” over its problems. 

Ms Freeman last week put the board into special measures over infection problems on child cancer wards at the board’s £842m Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

The death of 10-year-old Milly Main in August 2017 after she had beaten cancer was linked to an infection caused by contaminated water at the site. A second child, three-year-old Mason Djemat, died the same month on the same ward.

Whistleblower leaks then revealed the board had been warned that several parts of the water system at the hospital were “high risk” just before it opened in 2015.

Official reports found many of the problems lay uncorrected for years, and that more infection problems arose on two cancer wards in 2017 and 2018.

On Sunday, The Herald revealed another child died last week after contracting an infection while being treated at the QEUH, and Health Protection Scotland are investigating.

Board chief executive Jane Grant said she was “truly sorry” parents were worried about safety, but stressed recent tests had found no links between the water supply and individual infections. 

“Families should be reassured that infection rates at present are within expected levels and the hospital is safe,” she said in a statement.

She also said the “current” leadership team were addressing past problems despite “the “challenges we inherited from the previous leadership team”. 

The Scottish Tories urged Ms Freeman to make an urgentcy statement to MSPs.

However Mr Sarwar, who has been at the forefront of calls for transparency, said the problems appeared to lie with the board rather than the government.

He said: “It’s clear that the culture is rotten at the core of the health board. It’s clear that there is a culture there of silencing, of bullying and intimidation.

“None of this would have potentially come to light if it wasn’t for the whistleblower putting their head above the parapet and risking their own job and sharing the information with me.

“It should not rely on a whistleblower, it shouldn’t rely on MSPs, it shouldn’t rely on a free press to get transparency and answers for the parents, but that happened in this case.

“I honestly don’t believe that the health board would have acted appropriately if we hadn’t gone public. These are issues that have been raised with management for years and they have failed to act.”

He called on the management board to step aside to allow a truly independent investigation into infection problems on the QEUH campus.

“Whilst these people remain on the scene, they compromise the investigation and also they compromise the trust in whatever the investigation comes out with,” he said.

Ms Freeman, who has ordered a public inquiry into problems at the Glasgow hospital and the delayed Sick Kids in Edinburgh, is already due to appear before MSP later this month.

But Tory MSP Briggs said the families affected deserved answers now.

He said: “Jeane Freeman has to make a statement on this growing scandal on Tuesday. The families of those children affected by this simply cannot afford to wait any longer for answers. We need to know exactly what’s going on at a hospital the SNP planned, built and now runs. It’s simply not good enough for the health secretary to punt this into the long grass.

“There is now real concern among patients, their families and staff that this isn’t just a historic issue, and many simply don’t trust the hospital to provide care safely.”

LibDem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton added: “The news that yet another child has died as the result of hospital infections is extremely troubling. My heart goes out to the child’s family.

“This drip feeding of tragic news about deaths at the QEUH cannot go on.

“Parents are understandably concerned about taking their children to a hospital with this mounting track record. The Health Secretary owes patients and their families answers. She must urgently make a statement to parliament setting out the measures that have been taken to ensure this hospital is safe for current patients.”

On the latest death, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it was bound by rules of patient confidentiality when asked about the report of the death this week.

“We need to take care when discussing individual cases as we are bound by strict rules of patient confidentiality,” said a spokeswoman for the board.

“The issue is being appropriately managed and Health Protection Scotland has been informed. As this involves a single case, we have no further comment to make.”

The Scottish Government said: “Our deepest sympathies go to the parents and family of the child who has died. We expect all NHS Boards to provide appropriate support to families after a child’s death, including discussion and response to questions. It would be inappropriate to comment on any individual’s care. Incident Management Teams meet as part of ongoing care and treatment across our hospitals and are part of good clinical governance procedures.”