92. Part of the Oversight Board's role has been to provide assurance not just on practice, but – as far as possible – the relevant physical environment of the QEUH and the Health Board's approach to inspecting and maintaining that environment. The Technical Issues Subgroup was established to provide advice on key aspects of this, including:
- assurance that the relevant environments at the QEUH and the RHC are, and continue to be, safe;
- progress on the refurbishment and reopening of Wards 2A and 2B in the RHC, following its closure in September 2018, so that children and young people can return to the Unit specially designed for their needs;
- how appropriate action plans have been developed and taken forward to address any technical issues highlighted by competent authorities such as the Health and Safety Executive, HPS and HFS; and
- lessons learned that could be shared more widely across NHS Scotland.
93. The work of the Subgroup is continuing and will be set out in full in the Final Report. Given its technical focus, there have been difficulties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic in progressing this work as quickly as desired. Nevertheless, working closely with NHS GGC, the Subgroup is currently undertaking reviews of:
- NHS GGC's water safety policy, with specific attention given to its water testing regime and how testing results are being used as part of IPC and the key water and ventilation infrastructure in light of the infections across the hospital site; and
- NHS GGC plans to review the impact of the chemical dosing system introduced from late 2018 to address water system contamination, especially any potential implications for the existing water infrastructure.
Refurbishment of Wards 2A and 2B in the RHC
94. The Subgroup has also reviewed progress on refurbishing Wards 2A and 2B in the RHC. Originally, when the children and young people were first de-canted from the wards, it was hoped that the work would be relatively limited. However, as further investigation was conducted on the state of the wards, it was clear that significant additional work would be required to redress shortcomings in the original building work, particularly with respect to ventilation issues.
95. The completion date for Wards 2A and 2B has now shifted to May 2021. The principal reason for the delay has been Covid-19, which has had an impact in an number of areas, including the procurement of relevant plant and equipment, essential staff being furloughed, social distancing being enforced (which has affected timescales) and the site needing to be shut down on one occasion following a positive Covid-19 test result. In addition to these issues, as it has been upgrading the ward, NHS GGC has identified additional problems with mould, fire stopping and insulation in external walls which have all needed to be rectified and that has added time to the programme of work.
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