UK

Yousaf urged to ‘do the right thing’ and sack Glasgow health board bosses

The health board is being treated as a suspect over the deaths of patients at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The health board is being treated as a suspect over the deaths of patients at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (Andrew Milligan/PA) The health board is being treated as a suspect over the deaths of patients at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (Andrew Milligan/PA)

First Minister Humza Yousaf has been urged to sack the leaders of Glasgow’s health board after it was named a suspect in an investigation into the deaths of patients.

Police were instructed to launch an investigation into the deaths at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and Mr Yousaf confirmed on Thursday that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is now being considered a suspect in the probe.

Among those affected was 10-year-old Milly Main, who died in 2017 after contracting an infection at the Royal Hospital for Children’s cancer ward on the hospital campus.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who has supported the families of those impacted, urged the First Minister to fire the board’s chair and chief executive.

“Deadly mistakes made, facts denied, a cover-up continuing, and to this day no-one, not a single person held to account – instead incompetence is rewarded,” the Glasgow MSP said.

Mr Sarwar went on to quote Milly’s mother Kimberly Darroch, who said this week she “feels that pain the day I lost her every single day because of all of this”.

Anas Sarwar and Kimberly Darroch
Anas Sarwar and Kimberly Darroch Anas Sarwar has worked with the families impacted – including Milly Main’s mother Kimberly Darroch, right (Rebecca McCurdy/PA)

Mr Sarwar said: “First Minister, for once, do the right thing – sack the leadership of this health board.”

Mr Yousaf said he “can’t imagine the pain of losing a child”, adding it is “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

He said the Scottish Government had set up an oversight board, a public inquiry and passed the Patient Safety Commissioner Bill, adding ministers will “continue to demonstrate that leadership”.

Board chairman Professor John Brown is due to come to the end of his eight-year term soon, but is to remain as an adviser to the Scottish Government on NHS governance.

Mr Sarwar said: “First Minister, what message does this send to grieving families, and what does it say about your judgment, that the man who presided over this scandal will continue to advise your Government?”

Mr Yousaf again expressed his condolences to the families of those affected, and said the Government “has taken action”, pointing to the creation of a public inquiry into the issues at the hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh.

He added he could not comment on a live police investigation.

Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf repeatedly refused to comment on the police investigation (Jane Barlow/PA)

But Mr Sarwar said: “Let me be clear, John Brown shouldn’t be advising this Government and should not hold any public appointments while the criminal investigation and the public inquiry continues.

“The chief executive of this health board, Jane Grant, has been in post since before Milly died and during that time she’s been paid more than £1 million.

“She has led an organisation that is now being investigated for corporate homicide, gaslit grieving families, shut down and bullied NHS staff, and called into question the results of and independent review that exposed fatal infections in children.

“Now she will continue to run this health board while the police investigate her actions and those of the people who report to her.”

In other fields, he added, “suspects would not be allowed to walk free on a crime scene”.

The First Minister said it is the health board as a corporate entity and not Ms Grant nor any individual within the board that has been named as a suspect.

He added: “It is important that the police investigation is allowed to continue.

“Anas Sarwar may wish in his position to be judge and jury but it is important that I allow the police investigation to happen without interruption.”