SCOTLAND’S most senior nurse is to step down from her role, she has announced.

Professor Fiona McQueen, the Chief Nursing Officer is set to retire in June following six years in the role.

A hunt for her successor has now been launched, and plans to replace her as chair of the oversight board looking at scandal-hit NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are also underway.

The senior nurse was appointed to look at infection prevention and control measures at NHSGGC, following a number of high-profile deaths of children with cancer at the flagship Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Royal Hospital for Children.

It is understood that Ms McQueen plans to conclude the work reviewing cases before her retirement at the end of June, with a plan in place to publish the culmination of her work as a public report at a later date.

She is also hoping to enable children to move back into ward 2A in the RHC before her departure.

The ward was closed after a number of children contracted infections, which were thought to be linked to water in the ward.

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The area catered for children with cancer and, as a result, had extremely low immune systems.

It was closed at the end of last year while work was carried out on the water system – with drains, taps and sinks replaced and the water chemically treated.

A £1.25m upgrade of the ventilation system in the ward is also underway, with children receiving treatment instead at the QEUH, in ward 6A. This ward had to be temporarily closed before Christmas after a number of children developed hospital-acquired infections.

Jeane Freeman praised the senior nurse’s work and said she had made a “significant and valuable contribution” to the sector throughout her career.

The health secretary told the Herald: “In her time Fiona has provided consistent leadership to the professions including important work to widen participation into nursing and promote a more inclusive approach for those wanting to enter the profession. As Scotland’s most senior nurse she has led innovative work on quality improvement in nursing and midwifery across Scotland and has provided leadership for Scotland’s new comprehensive safe staffing law.”

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She said that Ms McQueen had been “an exemplary CNO” and added: “I want to wish her all the very best for her retirement when it comes at the end of June. The process to appoint a new Chief Nursing Officer is now underway.

“Fiona will continue to lead on work around the escalation of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde over hospital-acquired infection in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the delay to the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh. Plans for a successor to this work will be put in place ahead of her retirement.”