The SNP and Greens have been accused of “failing to do the right thing” after refusing to create a “Milly’s law” to help families affected by major medical incidents.

The governing parties rejected Labour amendments to a Holyrood Bill that would have imposed extra duties on a new Patient Safety Commissioner for Scotland.

They said Labour’s plan would tie the hands of the Commissioner, who is supposed to promote patients' views and advocate for “systemic” improvements in healthcare.

Labour’s amendments would also force them to advocate for families of people affected by major health care incidents, including helping them get legal representation and details of any relevant investigations, as well as adding a duty to assist whistleblowers.

The changes would also place a responsibility on the Commissioner to hand a report into a major incident to the chief constable of Police Scotland and the procurator fiscal.

The plan, collectively known as MIlly’s Law, was named after 10-year-old Milly Main.

She was in remission from leukaemia at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow when she died from an infection in 2017 “probably” linked to the hospital’s water supply. 

The Government rejected the plan before the summer, at an earlier stage of the Patient Safety Commissioner for Scotland Bill, despite Humza Yousaf saying he would look at it.

Labour tabled the amendments again for the Bill’s third and final stage today, but again the Government refused to accept them, and they were voted down.

Scottish Labour deputy Dame Jackie Baillie said the amendments would have empowered the Commissioner to advocate for people “failed by the health care system”.

She said: “They would ensure that those affected by such incidents are supported in knowing their rights and getting the appropriate help. 

“By empowering the role of the commissioner, we can begin to reset the balance between families and powerful public bodies.”

SNP public health minister Jenni Minto said all MSPs wanted the Commissioner to be able to look into healthcare issues arising from major incidents where patients were harmed.

She said: “I’ve considered very carefully how best to achieve this and my view remains that it is more effective to allow the commissioner to be guided by patients on the issues they look into and the actions they take.

“I do not wish to inadvertently tie the commissioner’s hands in respect of the sort of circumstances they can look into and I worry this group of amendments, by adding very specific steps for the Commissioner to take in relation to a certain group of incidents, would unintentionally undermine the Commissioner’s vital ability to set their own agenda and to look into the issues of most concern to patients.”

An amendment requiring  the commissioner to advocate for those affected by a major incident fell by 48 votes to 58.

Another, which would give the Commissioner powers over redress and awards for the victims of a major incident, fell by 47 votes to 59.

Proposed duties to provide more information for families and submit a report to the chief constable and procurator fiscal both fell by 50 votes to 58.

Dame Jackie said afterwards that she was “genuinely disappointed”. 

She added: “This is a deeply disappointing decision from this SNP-Green Government and exposes the false promise by Humza Yousaf to do right by the victims of this scandal.

“The families who have been campaigning for years to get justice for their loved ones have once again been badly let down by the SNP and the Greens.

“Whilst I am pleased Labour managed to strengthen this Bill in some areas, I am saddened that the SNP and Greens have failed to do the right thing and support Milly’s Law fully and unequivocally.

“The tragic scandal at the QEUH highlighted the need for patients and their families to be at the heart of everything the NHS does. Sadly, today’s actions reveal that this is not a sentiment shared by Humza Yousaf’s Government.”

Despite the disagreement over particular amendments, the Bill as a whole was ultimately passed by 114 votes to zero with no abstentions.