JEANE Freeman has given Glasgow health chiefs one last chance to improve despite condemning their performance.

Speaking to The Herald on Sunday, the Health Secretary said that a “culture change” was urgently needed at the city's NHS board.

Her words came after a series of infections were discovered at the hospital, including one that contributed to the death of a 10-years-old girl, Milly Main.

Ms Freeman said: "People need to be given the chance to remember why they want to work for the health service in the first place. “There is a cultural change that is needed, and that is part of what level four is aiming to achieve, to shift this. I do not think they have been good enough by any measure up until now.

“It is entirely legitimate to find it difficult to see the world through the lens of the other person, but I think if you can’t do that then a health environment ... It needs to be a compassionate and caring environment for everyone in it. [In] other environments you don’t need to display those qualities so much.

"If it’s hard for you to do that, then maybe another environment is [the] place for you.”

Labour Health spokeswoman Monica Lennon responded, saying : "This softer, wait-and-see approach over the tragic events and secrecy at the QEUH campus is no longer tenable. Serious safety questions continue to go unanswered by the leadership of the health board."

Ms Lennon: "The comments from the Health Secretary are remarkable because there are no second chances for families who have lost loved ones.

"There should be no doubt in her mind that the chief executive is fully committed to patient safety.

"This waffle and indecision has to stop. Tough action was taken in NHS Tayside over finance which led to the previous Health Secretary changing the leadership team."

Charmaine Lacock, whose three-year-old daughter Paige is being treated for leukaemia at the hospital, said: "I don’t see the point in giving the board another chance. If you have been lied to 10 times why are you going to believe them the 11th time they tell you anything, even if it is the truth?

"It’s a culture of lies, hidden deaths, infection, putting our children in harms way when they knew it was unsafe. It's not good enough."

The Health Secretary said that some of the managers at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC)  “had not been there for very long”, referring to chief executive Jane Grant who took over in 2017.

She added: “Cultures build up over many years and they are not necessarily to blame for the cultures that exist, but they will be accountable for the changes.

“What people have to do, regardless of the job they do in healthcare, is to be in that other person’s shoes. Just imagine what it is like to have your child diagnosed with cancer and all the burden of worry and anxiety and emotional upset that brings you ... imagine all of that and then lay on the burden of not being sure if the environment is safe. If you don’t understand what that feels like, you need to think about if this is the right place for you to be.”

The SNP MSP has also apologised to whistleblowers who raised concerns about the safety of the QEUH and neighbouring Royal Hospital for Children repeatedly, in 2015, 2017 and in 2918, but were ignored.

She has now asked two of them to work with her and the investigation team, and said: "When I met them I took the opportunity to apologise that all the issues they were raising were not paid attention to and they weren’t heard."

When asked why she felt it was not the right decision for her to resign, Freeman stated blankly: “Because I think my job is to fix this.”

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar and Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs have both called for Ms Freeman to step down from her role, with pressure mounting further over revelations about Milly Main’s death.

The young girl from Lanark was being treated for cancer in 2017 but died following an infection suspected to be from the hospital’s water supply.

Her mother Kimberley Darroch said she was not told at the time about the hospital-acquired infection or its links to her daughter’s death.

As revealed by this newspaper, Milly's death was never reported the the Procurator Fiscal despite legal obligations to do so, with health chiefs claiming "no concerns" were raised at the time by her family.

Freeman said has now instructed NHSGGC to contact Ms Darroch and said: "I completely understand and would share the concern that it wasn’t reported [to the PF] at the time.

"Given that Mrs Darroch says, and I have no reason not to believe her, that she did not known that infection was a factor until she saw the death certificate, then I can understand that concerns wouldn’t be raised until you get to that point [where you understand the infection was related to Milly’s death].

“I have now asked the board to have a conversation with Mrs Darroch about that. She needs to be happy, and if she wants it done the board should report it rather than leave her to do it."

Ms Freeman also revealed that investigators, who are working at NHSGGC following its escalation to level four scrutiny last month, are scouring paperwork and documentation to find any hidden reports showing problems at the site.

It comes after Mr Sarwar revealed a report from 2015, which showed problems with contaminated water but which NHSGGC board members said they had never seen.

Ms Freeman said: "We are doing everything we can to make sure there is nothing out there that we don’t know about, we are going searching.

"I don’t think you can do any more than that, we just keep on it and make sure there is nothing else.

"It is incredible to me that a report of that nature, commissioned by the board, in the name of the board, when it was produced in 2015 was not shared with the board at the most senior level.

"If it had been shared with the board at senior level, I would have expected it to be shared with government given what it says."

She has also called for the reports which formed the basis of the decision by NHSGGC to take legal action against contractor Brookfield Multiplex, to be made public as soon as possible.

MS Freeman explained: "The legal advice is not to publish just now in case it compromises the case in court, but what we have asked [NHSGGC] to clarify is when their lawyers think they could publish the report, and whether or not their lawyers think they could publish the report in part. My very clear view is that you need to publish it as soon as you can."