Humza Yousaf has been accused of “empowering” under-fire health board chiefs amid an initial probe into deaths at Glasgow’s flagship hospital.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has led fresh calls for the board of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to be sacked.

In 2017, 10-year-old Milly Main died at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) after contracting an infection while being treated on a cancer ward.

At First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Mr Sarwar said the health board had rejected the conclusions in the fifth provisional position paper of the inquiry into the deaths.

Senior Scottish Government official Andrew Slorance died in 2020 due to a fungus infection called aspergillus.

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In the report published by the inquiry on May 15 this year, the board said: “The narrative is not accepted insofar as it sets out any link, whether explicitly or inexplicitly, between those infections and the water, drainage or ventilation systems at the QEUH.”

It said the suggestion of increased risk by any of these systems was “not accepted”.

Mr Sarwar said no-one has been held responsible and families have been “kept in the dark” about their relatives’ deaths.

Following First Minister's Questions, Milly’s mother Kimberley Darroch accused the health board of “gaslighting” victims, and said: “It feels like the Government have empowered those that have failed us.”

Calling for the dismissal of the senior leadership, including the chairman and chief executive, Mr Sarwar said during FMQs: “The First Minister has not held those people responsible to account. He has empowered the people who have failed those families.

“Six years into this scandal and the established facts are being denied by a health board leadership who are prepared to do anything to protect their own jobs.

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“But this is what we have come to expect from this SNP Government: no-one ever takes responsibility and failure is rewarded with promotion.

“Under the SNP, failure is rewarded, incompetence is excused, and the Scottish people are left suffering the consequences.

“The people of Scotland cannot trust this weak First Minister to stand up for them when it matters.”

In response, Mr Yousaf said the hospital leadership will be “held to account”, and added: “We have made clear that we are not waiting for that inquiry to finish, where we can take remedial action, we can take action to improve the situation.

“It is my understanding that a number of the recommendations have indeed not just been accepted but work is well under way in relation to some of those issues.

“I will continue, and I know the Health Secretary will continue, to engage with Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board to make sure that these recommendations of the oversight board are taken forward.

“We will hold the health board leadership absolutely to account in relation to the oversight recommendations that have been made.

“We have brought forward a number of measures to improve transparency and making sure that families do get the answers, when unfortunately in the rare occasions when things go wrong.”

Mr Sarwar added: “Frankly, staff at the hospital, patients who have been failed, and families, will listen to that answer from the First Minister with rage and think he is completely out of touch with the reality they face every single day.”