The health secretary has apologised to the families of two patients who died at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

Milly Main, 10, and an unnamed three-year-old boy passed away three weeks apart in August 2017 after being treated on a ward affected by water contamination.

An independent review is examining water contamination and other problems at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus, where the hospital is located.

READ MORE: Health Secretary to be quizzed over scandal-hit Glasgow Queen Elizabeth University Hospital


Jeane Freeman has now expressed her “deepest sympathies” to the parents of the pair, assuring them they are “entitled to have their questions answered” surrounding the deaths.

Speaking to MSPs, she said: “To lose a loved one in any circumstances is hard, but I cannot begin to imagine the pain of losing a child in these circumstances - or the suffering and grief that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

"I also want to apologise to them that they feel they have not had their questions answered.

"They are absolutely right to ask and pursue their questions, and they are entitled to have them answered and to receive the support they need."

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde also issued an apology to the families on Monday.

The health secretary said it was expected a separate public inquiry - examining safety and wellbeing issues at the QEUH and the new children's hospital in Edinburgh - will also look at water contamination.

READ MORE: Death of three-year-old at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital investigated

Responding to a question from Labour’s shadow health secretary Monica Lennon on the future of trust in the health service, Ms Freeman said: “"They can place trust in me. I have compassion, I have empathy, and that is why I met with those families and have undertaken the work that I have done.

"I refute absolutely from Miss Lennon, or from anyone else, that I am careless or irresponsible on these matters - it could not be further from the truth. 

“It may suit you Ms Lennon to make those points for other reasons but they are not true and I refute them absolutely."