Freeman quizzed on ‘major outbreak’ of Covid-19 at hospital

The health secretary was questioned about ‘worrying reports’ from Gartnavel Hospital.

Freeman quizzed on ‘major outbreak’ of Covid-19 at hospital Getty Images

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said she will reveal how many wards in Scotland have been shut down as a result of Covid-19 after being pressed on a “major outbreak” of the disease inside a Glasgow hospital.

Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon called for action as she questioned Freeman about “worrying reports” from Gartnavel Hospital.

Raising the issue in the Scottish Parliament, Lennon said: “Families affected by the outbreak have shared heart-breaking accounts of the loss of loved ones.

“David Colgan’s family were told he would be safe at Gartnavel. After being admitted to the hospital, Mr Colgan tested negative for Covid, he was however later struck down by the virus and died in the hospital alone.

“His daughter has said the ‘virus blew through the hospital like a draught’.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board papers “confirm over 20 ward closures occurred across March and April this year” in the area because of coronavirus, Lennon said.

She asked Freeman how many wards across Scotland had been shut down by outbreaks of the disease during the pandemic.

The health secretary said she did “not have the exact number in terms of the number of wards that were closed across all hospital settings” – but said she would “secure that number”.

She also expressed her sympathies to all those who had lost family members or loved ones.

She also told MSPs the 14-day incubation period for Covid-19 meant it was very difficult to tell if someone was clear of the disease or not when they are admitted to hospital.

Freeman said while a patient may “test negative at the point they are tested, that does not mean they are not incubating Covid-19”.

The health secretary added: “The 14-day incubation period does make it absolutely difficult to be certain about these matters.”

She said work was going on involving the Scottish Government, the other nations of the UK and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control to try to establish “international definitions for hospital-acquired Covid-19 infections” – cases where patients have caught the disease while being treated in hospital.

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