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Child cancer treatments delayed by hospital bacteria outbreak

Scottish Labour called for an the health secretary to launch an investigation of Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children.

A government investigation should be held into a bacteria outbreak at a children’s hopsital after it caused treatment delays for child cancer patients, Scottish Labour has said.

The party’s health spokesman Anas Sarwar said the daughter of one of his constituents had her chemotherapy delayed three separate times due to the bacteraemia outbreak at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, he said: “She asked me to ask directly how many cases of chemotherapy have been delayed due to bacterial and safety concerns affecting the hospital?

“Can the First Minister please address this directly but also ask the Cabinet Secretary to instigate an urgent investigation of hospital to give full answers and full transparency in the interests of those patients, their families and the wider community and to guarantee that we can minimise the risk of this ever happening again.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon did not concede to calls for the Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to launch an investigation but said she would ask her to look into the case raised.

She said she would provide Mr Sarwar with the number of chemotherapy delays and said the situation is “deeply regrettable”.

“The primary concern of the health board and indeed of the Scottish Government is the safety and wellbeing of children and their families at the hospital,” she said.

“While no patients with bacterial infections are currently giving cause for concern its very important that all precautions are taken to prevent any further infection.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said earlier this week 22 of the hospital’s child cancer patients have been moved to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital while an internal investigation is carried out.

Between January and June the children’s hospital had issues with its water supply in wards 2A and 2B, leading to a number of cases of bacteraemia, where bacteria is found in blood.

The health board said the investigation had been launched as six new cases were identified, following a lull after parts in taps were replaced and filters and drains washed with chlorine-based detergent.

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