NURSES working in a children’s cancer ward plagued by repeat infections are being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Staff at ward 6a of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital - where no less than three separate inquiries are underway - have been offered ‘bespoke’ counselling according to health bosses because of ‘interest’ in the unit.

Both the adult and children’s hospitals have come under intense scrutiny due to a series of infections and the death of two patients including a 10-year-old boy suffering from cancer.

The Royal Collect of Nursing said staff were facing “considerable additional strain” due to safety uncertainties related to the hospital. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it took the health and wellbeing of staff "extremely seriously."

In August, ward 6A was closed to new admissions after three of its patients contracted infections.

The following month Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced a public inquiry would be launched into the construction of the hospital. The Scottish Government said it was acting on concerns raised by parents.

READ MORE: Public Inquiry launched into building flaws at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

Anne Thomson, Royal College of Nursing Scotland Senior Officer, said: “The safety and wellbeing uncertainties relating to the QEUH building are putting nursing staff under considerable additional strain.

“Every day nurses and health care support workers go onto their shift wanting to deliver safe, high quality care to patients and the personal and professional toll of dealing with these issues should not be underestimated.

“Staff want reassurance that the hospital is fit for purpose and we continue to support our members at the QEUH at this difficult time.”

Paediatric patients were moved to ward 6A as a temporary measure in September 2018, when two children’s cancer wards at the Royal Hospital for Children were closed for upgrades following an infection outbreak.

A total of 25 cases of infection were found at the RHC between 2016 and September 2018.

READ MORE: Systemic problems with governance at QEUH, MSPs told

In January, it emerged two patients including a10-year-old boy being treated for cancer, had died after contracting an infection linked to pigeon droppings.

The deaths led Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman to order an independent review into

the design, build, commissioning and maintenance of the £842 million two-hospital campus, which opened in 2015.

The Crown Office is also investigating the deaths and NHSGGC is carrying out its own inquiry.

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: “We take the health and wellbeing of all our staff extremely seriously and at times some staff will need different levels of support.

“We have created a bespoke package of support for the staff in Ward 6A following the recent interest in the ward.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Health Secretary has met families of children in oncology at QEUH to listen to their concerns, and all of the families she has met so far have said the frontline staff they dealt with were compassionate, caring and skilled. 

“The Health Secretary has been clear that she expects to see additional steps taken to support all the relevant staff at QEUH who continue to deliver high-quality compassionate care in difficult circumstances.”

Health watchdog Health Protection Scotland is carrying out a national review of water systems at all healthcare facilities in Scotland built since 2013.


NURSES working in a ward where young children are being treated for cancer “don’t leave their work at the door” when they clock off at the end of a shift, say union leaders.

The Royal College of Nursing said staff working in ward 6A would already be facing considerable pressure, due to the age of patients they are treating and the additional demands of supporting parents through the extreme trauma of a cancer diagnosis.

It’s part of the job, of course. But what the nurses perhaps wouldn’t be prepared for is the level of intense scrutiny the entire hospital has been under for the past two years. A public inquiry into the design and construction of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is under way, along with other separate investigations.

The problems at the QEUH have been covered extensively by the media and it is right that they are. 

The RCN said the “personal and professional toll” of dealing with the safety uncertainties associated with the hospital could not be underestimated. 
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde should be commended for taking the wellbeing of its nursing staff seriously enough to offer intensive support through the challenging months until the inquiries conclude.