LABOUR leader Anas Sarwar has penned a letter to the First Minister – calling on her to sack the senior management team of a health board at the centre of an ongoing hospital deaths scandal.

At First Minister’s Questions yesterday, Mr Sarwar pressed Nicola Sturgeon over the issue after two whistleblowers came forward to highlight two further deaths related to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QUEH) in Glasgow – which could have been linked to infections.

One of the medics claimed that a child cancer patient died from aspergillus infection in November 2020, around the same time and in the same ward as Andrew Slorance, who had headed up the Scottish Government's communications unit.

A second clinician also sugested there has been "at least one death" in the past few months in the adjacent Royal Hospital for Children where a child was infected by a bacteria linked to water and the environment, and describes a "culture of denial" into hospital infections.

The development comes amid an ongoing public inquiry into infections linked to the building and water supply at the QEUH.

READ MORE: Glasgow QEUH child aspergillus death 'linked to that of Scottish Government's Andrew Slorance'

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it is "fully committed to being completely open and transparent" and that infection control in the QEUH is "rigorous and of the highest standard".

Despite Ms Sturgeon insisting yesterday that the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde board has been escalated to the highest tier, level 5 is still available to ministers – with the public body already at level 4 due to infection control issues at two hospitals.

In his letter, the Labour leader has insisted “it is abundantly clear that further action must be taken”.

Mr Sarwar has called for stage 5 to be activated which would allow Health Secretary Humza Yousaf to replace members of the board.

He said: “These powers are currently being used in response to the Covid pandemic but more specifically they have been used by SNP ministers to replace health board leaderships in the past.

“In April 2018, following revelations that NHS Tayside had misused charity funds Shona Robison, the then Health Secretary, escalated the board to stage 5, placing it in ‘special measures’ and replacing the chief executive and chairman.

“Stage 5 is to be used when a health board’s ‘organisational structure or configuration unable to deliver effective care’.

READ MORE: FMQs: Sturgeon presiding over 'worst scandal in devolution era' amid hospital death 'cover-up' claims

“My concern is that while your Government has seen fit to use these powers over financial mismanagement, you are unwilling to act when they could save lives.”

In his letter to the FM, Mr Sarwar said: “It has been four years since the death of Milly Main, and two years since the culture of cover-up and secrecy at NHSGCC was brought to light.

“People are still dying from preventable hospital acquired infections. “A culture of bullying and intimidation at the board continues to leave staff fearful of speaking out.”

He added: “The leadership at the health board and the oversight board put in place by your government have failed.

“So, I repeat my demands from yesterday, you must sack the chairman and chief executive at NHSGCC, sack the oversight board and put the hospital under direct ministerial control.

“More families should not have to pay the price for your government failing to do the right thing.”

Responding to the calls for a change of management at FMQs yesterday, Ms Sturgeon insisted that “sacking a health board does not change overnight the practice in a hospital”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon refutes 'slur' care home Covid deaths report was 'suppressed for political reasons'

She added: “That is why the actual work has to be done. When concerns are raised about the cause of someone’s death, it has to be properly investigated so that the action that is taken as a result of that is the right action. It is not right to say that no action has been taken over four years.

“These are serious matters, which all of us should take seriously. However, we do not do justice to the families concerned if we simply call for action that is not based on proper investigation, proper scrutiny and proper consideration.

“That is the duty of Government, and the duty that we will continue to take seriously.”