Nicola Sturgeon urged to take action over death of Scottish Government official Andrew Slorance


The widow of a Scottish Government official who died at a scandal-hit hospital has written to Nicola Sturgeon to make a fresh plea for answers.

Louise Slorance believes she was never told the truth about her husband Andrew’s death in 2020 at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow.

The First Minister told MSPs last year she would order a review of his case – and insisted her government would “never tolerate cover ups or secrecy on the part of any health board”.

Scotland’s chief nursing officer (CNO) subsequently commissioned NHS Lothian to review Andrew’s care and treatment at the QEUH.

But Louise has now criticized the process after the published report admitting it was not based on Andrew’s actual case notes – and instead relied on a previous review carried out by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The mum-of-five was also invited to meet with health bosses on two occasions to discuss their findings – only for each meeting to be canceled at short notice.



Louise Slorance, widow of civil servant Andrew

In her letter to Sturgeon, Louise said: “I had been told that the purpose of these meetings was to allow me ‘the opportunity to seek assurances and responses to questions that you may have’.

“I have so many questions about Andrew’s care and treatment and about the content of these reviews.

“I am furious that these reviews have given me no assurances, do not seem to have consulted the relevant clinicians and that none of my questions concerning what happened to my husband have been answered.

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“These belated cancellations of the opportunity for me to meet and ask questions have given rise to further suspicion on my part about what is being covered up.”

Andrew Slorance was a senior civil servant and part of the Scottish Government’s emergency communications team dealing with the pandemic.

He was also a cancer sufferer who was admitted to the QEUH in October 2020. He later tested positive for coronavirus as an inpatient and died in December that year.

The cause of Andrew’s death was listed as Covid pneumonia – but after requesting a copy of his medical notes, Louise discovered he had also been treated for an infection caused by a fungus called aspergillus.

In an interview with the Record last year, Louise revealed the aspergillus infection came up repeatedly in her husband’s medical notes and she believes he contracted the bug.

Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar took up her case and asked the First Minister directly what action would be taken.

Sturgeon insisted last year her government would do “everything possible to ensure that Andrew’s family get the answers that they are seeking.”

But in her letter, Louise insisted promises made to her had not been yet.

She added: “Sixteen months after Andrew’s death, the events of the last two months have made it apparent that neither the CNO, nor NHS GGC, are willing to engage in meaningful and open conversations regarding the case reviews you instructed.

“This letter outlines just a few of the issues presented by Andrew’s case.

“My family and I do not need your ‘thoughts or heartfelt condolences’.

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“What we require is action – open, transparent and independent action. A thorough, multi-disciplinary investigation of the events leading up to Andrew’s death, based on the facts and without bias, is the only way failures will be identified, lessons will be learned, and care will improve.”

The letter concluded: “I am repeating my request that you immediately initiate an independent clinical review of all aspergillus cases at the QEUH since its opening, for Andrew and the other families affected.

“The voice of the families must be heard, and no clinical staff silenced.”

A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Our thoughts and sincere condolences continue to be with the family and loved ones of Mr Slorance and we are sorry that any questions they have around his care have further added to their grief.

“We have repeatedly stated that we are entirely content to engage with Mrs Slorance about her husband on the clinical care provided to him and we remain happy to meet her

“Determining the cause of death and its contributory factors is a clinical decision that lies entirely with the consultant caring for the patient, based on clinical judgement.

“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 organization would ask any clinician to do so.

“As a number of senior clinicians made clear in a letter to the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary late last year, we have been, and remain, fully committed to being completely open and transparent in all that we do and we are dismayed that the integrity of our staff has been repeatedly called into question.”

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A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “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.””

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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