FAMILIES have shared heartbreaking accounts of the loss of loved ones in the Glasgow hospital at the centre of a major outbreak of Covid-19.

Gartnavel General is said to have recorded 81 cases of the virus and 25 deaths ‘in a matter of weeks.’

A whistleblower has claimed the transfer of elderly patients from the single-room-only Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to Gartnavel, to free up space for Covid admissions, led to the virus spreading ‘like a cruise ship.’

Health sources fears that the super-hospital would be overwhelmed with cases did not materialise, leaving hundreds of empty rooms.

The spate of cases has prompted Labour’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon to call on the Scottish Government to disclose the number of hospital acquired infections.

David Holgate died on April 19 in Gartnavel and the family say Covid-19 was recorded as the cause of death. They say he tested negative for the virus when he was admitted.


The 91-year-old was transferred from his care home in Knightswood to the QEUH on March 7 suffering from pneumonia. He recovered but doctors were not keen for him to return to the home until he had regained more mobility so he was transferred to Gartnavel for rehabilitation.

The elderly have been treated like they do not matter 

Mags says doctors told the family they were moving her father because there were Covid patients being admitted to the Queen Elizabeth and it was “the safer of the two hospitals.”

While her father was initially put in a single room at Gartnavel, the family say he was moved to a three-bed ward within a few days.

READ MORE: Covid-19 'spread like on a cruise ship' after super-hospital patient transfer  

Mags says the family were delighted when a consultant talked about discharging him back to the care home. However, his condition deteriorated and a few days later and he tested positive for the virus.

She said: “That virus blew through the hospital like a draught. It was awful.

“By the time my dad was in his last days the ward he was in had gone from no Covid patients to all Covid. 

“When his test came back positive he was in a three-bedded room with two patients that at that time did not have the virus.


“I know this because I called to speak to my dad at 8pm-ish and they were moving him to a different room.

“ The nurse that answered said he was being moved, as the patients he was sharing room with did not have Covid.

“The staff were amazing, I really don’t think I could have done their job. Initially I was terrified to go see my dad but I  could not abandon him. I needed to see him and he would have needed to hear my voice.

“When they called me to tell me he had passed he had been dead for 30 mins.

“We thought he would be with us for another few years.

“I know my dad was nearing the end of his life but this was not the ending he deserved he died alone with none to hold his hand.

"The elderly have been treated like they do not matter but their lives are as important as any other.”

Frances McCarry’s husband Ian, 79, was transferred to Gartnavel after having hip surgery at the QEUH.

Her husband has a number of complex medical conditions including Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Parkinsonism and had been in a care home previously. However, Frances said she has noticed a  huge decline in his cognitive abilities since he developed the virus, which she says he contracted in Gartnavel.


He was transferred to the hospital on February 6, before the pandemic took hold, suffering from MRSA  and was put in a single room.

Around a month later, on March 14, he was transferred to a four-bedded unit and Frances says he was “shuttled back and forth” between single rooms and other open wards as more patients contracted the virus. He positive on May 5.

She said: “I was very unhappy about him having been in a ward with someone who had Coronavirus, and I also could not understand how it could even have happened as there had been no visitors allowed since March 25 and I knew that the staff had PPE.

 "I am grateful that he has at least been spared the worst symptoms of the virus and above all, death.

“Sadly, however, in the couple of phone calls and Facetime “chats” I have been able to have with him over the past two weeks, including today, I have seen a huge decline in him mentally.

“It would be easy to argue that this may have happened anyway, but I know just how animated and chatty he was, even on the day he was first tested, compared to the person he is since he contracted the virus.”

READ MORE: One in 20 Covid patients have no symptoms as new study finds vomiting and headaches also signs of infection 

Mrs McCarry added: “I have nothing but praise, admiration and heartfelt gratitude for the care, compassion and professionalism which all the staff have shown to Ian.

“However, the drive to free up beds, both from the QEUH and Gartnavel, with no regard for the safety and well-being of the patients, has to be addressed publicly."

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: "We would like to reiterate our sincere condolences to those families who have lost a loved one during this pandemic.  We would be happy to have a discussion with any family who have questions about their loved ones care.

"We have followed appropriate infection control processes throughout the pandemic. As the knowledge of this disease has increased we have adapted these processes to reflect updated national guidance."