Nicola Sturgeon has “absolutely” failed to ensure the case of a senior Scottish Government official who died after contracting coronavirus while in hospital for cancer treatment is fully investigated, his widow has claimed.
Louise Slorance said she feels “let down by everybody involved”, as she claimed a lack of answers over her husband Andrew’s care has left his family unable to properly grieve.
Mr Slorance, a father of five and the head of the Scottish Government’s response and communication unit, was being treated for cancer at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in 2020 when he tested positive for coronavirus.
However Mrs Slorance said she later discovered he also had aspergillus – a fungal infection caused by a type of mould – when she went through his medical notes.
First Minister Ms Sturgeon has previously pledged that her Government will “do everything possible to ensure that Andrew’s family get the answers that they are seeking”.
Speaking in November last year she said: “I will not and this Government will not tolerate cover-ups or secrecy on the part of any health board, and where there are concerns about that we will address those concerns.”
But Mrs Slorance, who first spoke publicly about her husband’s death in November 2021, claimed that the health board involved, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, “seem very reluctant to give me information”.
She told the BBC: “My family and I need answers, we need to be able to grieve. We can’t grieve with no answers and no explanation.
“I feel very let down by everybody involved – the heath board, the Government, and the fact that the First Minister has referred to Andrew as a friend.
“As a friend, surely she can understand why his family desperately need the answers as to what happened.
“I don’t know whether her involvement has been too hands-off and that’s why the external review hasn’t met the purpose it was supposed to, or I suppose I’m incredibly suspicious that everything that has been done to date has been done in order to make sure that the truth doesn’t come out and that it’s for a cover-up.”
Asked whether she feels Ms Sturgeon has failed in her commitment to fully investigate her husband’s death, she replied: “Absolutely.”
Mrs Slorance has now written to the First Minister on the matter.
A Scottish Government spokesman told the BBC: “Clinicians from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have extended an invitation to discuss Andrew’s care, and this offer remains open.
“We would encourage Mrs Slorance to take the opportunity to meet with NHS GGC clinicians and ask those questions pertinent to Andrew’s care.”
A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde told the BBC: “At all times our clinicians follow rigorous national processes governing documentation on death certificates.
“It is inconceivable that any clinician would agree to withhold information from a death certificate in order to protect the reputation of the service or a hospital.
“We also strongly refute that individuals within the organisation would ask any clinician to do so.”