Cabinet Secretary responds to findings.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman says an Independent Review into the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow has found that while it now offers a high quality healthcare setting, the initial design didn’t adequately take into account the needs of some vulnerable patients.
The report was commissioned by the Health Secretary after some patients contracted severe infections linked to issues with water quality and ventilation systems. The independent review team found that patients, staff and visitors with compromised immune systems were exposed to risks which could have been lower if the correct design, build and commissioning had taken place.
However, the report also says that since the building’s opening, measures have been put it place or are underway to ensure a sustained reduction in these risks.
The report also identifies a number of other issues which arose as a result of the infections, including the effect on public confidence, disruption to treatments, additional workloads for infection prevention and control teams and diverting resources away from the day-to-day running of the hospital.
The Review did not establish a sound evidential basis for asserting that avoidable deaths resulted from failures in the design, build, commissioning or maintenance of the hospital. However, this is one of the areas which will also be considered during the forthcoming Public Inquiry.
Ms Freeman said:
“The patients and families most affected by the issues raised in the report will be understandably concerned and distressed by some of the findings of the Independent Review. I have been clear that those who have been affected deserve answers to the many questions they are entitled to ask – and this review is an important step in delivering that.
“The report provides a wealth of information for the forthcoming Public Inquiry into the construction of the QEUH and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh for which the Remit and Terms of Reference have now been published.
“In addition to the Public Inquiry, an Oversight Board, led by Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer Fiona McQueen, will report on infection prevention and control practices at the hospital.
“We also await the results of a case note review of all recorded Gram-negative bloodstream infections in children who received haemato-oncology treatment from the opening of the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow until the start of this year. This team is also considering whether these children were put at risk because of the physical environment in which they were cared for.
“I would like to thank the review team for their diligence in carrying out this report and the hospital staff for their focus on providing high quality care throughout this challenging time.”
The Independent Review was announced in Parliament by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman on 26 February 2019 to address concerns around patient safety at the QUEH and Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) in Glasgow.
A formal response to the report’s findings and recommendations by the Scottish Government will be published shortly.
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