THE Health Secretary is facing accusations of a “cover-up” after a child with cancer died from an infection linked to a contaminated water supply at Glasgow's super hospital.

Citing a whistleblower, Glasgow Labour MSP Anas Sarwar revealed during First Minister’s Questions yesterday that the child’s parents were not told about the link, which emerged following investigations into infections in children in the cancer wards at the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) in Glasgow in 2017.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed last night that she knew in September about a child’s death linked to the water supply, but did not make it public to ensure patient confidentiality.

Sarwar said it was a “remarkable confession” and called on the First Minister to intervene in the case.

Two wards at the RHC were closed last September and patients moved to the adjoining Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) as Health Protection Scotland (HPS) investigated water contamination incidents.

There were 23 cases of blood stream infections with organisms potentially linked to water contamination identified between January 29 and September 26, 2018.

Glasgow Times: Health Secretary Jeane FreemanHealth Secretary Jeane Freeman

READ MORE: Child cancer patient 'died with infection' while being treated at Glasgow children's hospital

It has now been revealed that a clinician-led team at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde investigated further back than 2018.

The whistleblower who contacted Sarwar claimed this investigation found up to 26 cases of water supply infections in children in the cancer wards in 2017, and that one child with cancer died after contracting an infection.

Freeman defended her decision to keep the information private, saying she was ensuring patient confidentiality.

The Health Secretary said: “I receive a great deal of correspondence from individuals about particular patient issues and I don’t reveal that, because that would be entirely wrong for me to do.

“Not revealing it is not the same as not acting on it, and I acted on it.”

Responding to the comment, Sarwar said: “There are now incredibly serious questions for the government and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to answer, and a huge challenge to rebuild trust.

“This devastating death has been covered up since September. Jeane Freeman says she acted, but the most important act would be to inform the parents.

“At the centre of this scandal is a tragic loss of life, and the priority must be seeking answers for the parents who lost a child.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGCC) insisted its “overriding priority” is the safety of its patients, and that tests have shown the water supply is safe.

Responding to Sarwar at FMQs, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Patient safety is paramount and that’s exactly why the Health Secretary commissioned the independent review into the design, build, commissioning and maintenance of the QEUH .”

An NHSGGC spokesman said: “We rigorously review all cases of infection to ensure that our patients are appropriately cared for.

“We also completed an additional clinical review of the cases from 2017 in July 2019. This was carried out by senior clinical staff and it was concluded that no further action was required.

“It is important to make clear that the water supply to the Royal Hospital for Children and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is safe to use.”