WHEN the MP Jo Cox was killed during the 2017 election there was a suspension of campaigning by all parties in respect to her memory. Despite an election being under way nobody sought to gain political mileage from what had happened.

Contrast that with events last week in Scotland after the tragic death of a 10-year-old girl was revealed whilst she had been receiving treatment in a hospital cancer ward. Immediately opposition politicians at Holyrood went into overdrive trying to score political points against the health secretary in an appalling abuse of that child’s memory.

Even allowing for the fact there is an election under way, Miles Briggs went way beyond the pale by demanding that Jeane Freeman should resign over the non-inspection of a catheter suspected as being infected ("‘I want them to admit what they have done is wrong’", The Herald, November 15). The catheter is but one possible cause of death. Indeed, the exact source of infection may not be uncovered due the plurality of factors that could be involved.

The design of a cancer ward carries with it a huge number of challenges and the risk of infection cannot be entirely eliminated due to the number of opportunistic infections to be found in the built environment. In this respect I speak from experience having been the architect who designed the original Schiehallion cancer ward at Yorkhill back in 1995. It was probably the hardest project I’ve ever worked on.

I met up with the team again in 2009 as I was involved in designing its replacement within the new Children's Hospital. I asked then if there had been any recurring problems that we needed to take into account so that the bidders could be advised accordingly. There was no mention of any water or ventilation issues.

It therefore disturbs me to read about the current spate of issues regarding the water supply, particularly the lack of any reference to a sterilised water system for immunosuppressed patients. We put this in at Yorkhill along with HEPA filtered air systems for the most at-risk patients and I had assumed it would be similarly installed in the new facility. Yet when rechecking the Employers’ Requirements at the weekend there is no mention that I can find of a specialist water supply being required for the new hospital other than in the renal unit. I find it hard to believe the new ward has been built without such fundamental protection.

In 1995 I personally inspected the water system pipework as well as being on site to witness the air quality testing because without a pass in both we could not open the unit. It’s that critical. I was understandably relieved when we were told that we met all the necessary criteria. But that then begs the question. How does a brand-new hospital fail repeatedly so shortly after completion, when for 20 years there were no such problems with a similar cancer unit built in a much more challenging environment?

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.

IS there any chance that Scotland might have a competent Health Secretary at any point in the future?

James McBryde, Glasgow G13.