Don’t blame us, pleads Health board chief executive Jane Grant
Jane Grant, John Brown and Jeane Freeman
By Bill Heaney
In a desperate bid to silence calls for her resignation and those of two others, Health Board chairperson John Brown and Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, chief executive Jane Grant issued a long, apologetic statement following further disclosures from the Labour MSP Anas Sarwar and the 15 families of patients he represents subsequent to the contaminated water scandal at the showpiece QE2 hospital and Royal Children’s Hospital on Glasgow’s southside.
NHS GREATER GLASGOW AND CLYDE, which serves West Dunbartonshire and most of the counties surrounding the city, released this statement from Ms Grant: “I am truly sorry that parents remain concerned about safety issues and I am absolutely committed to ensuring families are provided with the information they need and deserve.
“The Chairman [John Brown] and I have already met with a number of families and they told us this direct engagement was extremely valuable. We continue to offer this opportunity to all 400 families involved with Ward 6A, including the 15 families represented by Mr Sarwar.
“I would once again encourage any parent who remains concerned about the quality of care their child has received to contact me directly to arrange a meeting.
“We want to work with parents to improve how we communicate with them and we are being supported in this by Professor Craig White who has been appointed by the Cabinet Secretary as point of liaison with families.
“The Cabinet Secretary [Jeane Freeman] has now announced the establishment of an Oversight Board, chaired by Professor Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer, to ensure appropriate governance is in place to increase public confidence in infection control and in our engagement with families.
“We welcome the additional support offered and are committed to working closely with the Scottish Government to implement any recommended additional changes and enhancements across infection control and associated engagement.
“Since the move to Ward 6A and 4B in September 2018, infection rates have been similar to other Scottish paediatric units.
“We have fully tested the water supply and ward surfaces in Ward 6A and also reviewed individual infections and found no links between individual infections and no source of infections in the ward.
“Families should be reassured that infection rates at present are within expected levels and the hospital is safe.
“The technical reports on the quality of the water supplies at the QEUH Campus mentioned by Mr Sarwar in the Scottish Parliament were not brought to the Senior Leadership Team’s attention until 2018.
“Once I had been made aware of these reports by Health Facilities Scotland as part of the work we had commissioned following an increase in the number of infections on Ward 2A/2B, I ensured that immediate steps and necessary action was taken to provide assurance about the safety of the water supply.
“I want to assure the families involved at that time that there was no attempt to ignore these reports once they were brought to my attention.
“I would, therefore, hope the families who have called for changes at the top of the organisation can accept that the current leadership team have made significant efforts to address the situation.
“Every member of the team has been entirely committed throughout this difficult period to ensuring the safety and quality of care of the children.
“This has not been easy given the challenges we inherited from the previous leadership team and we accept communications with the families could have been better but I remain convinced we have the right people to take the Royal Hospital for Children forward so that it fulfils its potential to be one of the leading children’s’ hospitals in the UK.”