Impact of infection outbreaks on families

Health Secretary appoints dedicated point of contact.


Action to ensure the voices of families affected by the infection outbreaks in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are heard has been announced by the Health Secretary.

Ms Freeman met families and young paediatric cancer patients who have been treated at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to hear their concerns about the impact the outbreaks have had.

Families raised a number of issues and are seeking information from the health board on:

  • infection control measures
  • the work underway in the haematology/oncology areas of the hospital
  • the intended outcome and timeline of the enhanced safety measures which the board has put in place

Following her meetings with families, Ms Freeman has announced she will appoint Professor Craig White, the Divisional Clinical Lead in the Healthcare Quality and Improvement Directorate at the Scottish Government, to review their concerns and act as a single point of contact for families about these issues.

The Chief Nursing Officer has also asked Health Protection Scotland to undertake an external review of the board’s data on healthcare-associated bloodstream infections, and the actions they have taken to ensure infection prevention and control.

Ms Freeman said:

“I am very grateful to the families for their time and for the frank and open way they detailed their concerns and feelings with me about the impact these concerns have had on their lives. All the information they have asked for is information they’re entitled to and should receive.

“Some of the questions raised by families will be answered by the Independent Review I commissioned in January which I expect to report by spring next year, and by the public inquiry I announced on 18 September.

“However many of the questions are pressing and will be answered and resolved in the coming weeks.

“I’ve asked the chair and chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow to meet those families who wish to meet them. I expect to see a number of the immediate practical issues addressed and a clear information flow to families established.

“All of the families I met said the frontline staff they dealt with were compassionate, caring and skilled. They were clear they wanted their thanks to these staff recorded. I expect to see additional steps taken to support all the staff involved who continue to deliver high-quality compassionate care in difficult circumstances.

“I will continue to take a close interest in the progress made by the board in dealing with the issues and concerns the families have raised.”


Professor White has worked for the Scottish Government since 2014 and led its work on organisational duty of candour. 

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