Doctors’ patient safety concerns at flagship hospital ‘not taken seriously’

Concerns about patient safety at Scotland’s biggest hospital were not taken seriously, senior doctors have claimed.

The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Royal Hospital For Children
The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Royal Hospital For Children

A series of infection outbreaks – and at least four deaths – at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus in Glasgow have been investigated over fears they were linked to the building.

It came after widespread water contamination and substandard ventilation were discovered at the site.

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The doctors, who worked in infection control for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC), have claimed in a documentary that they were branded troublemakers for raising the alarm.

Dr Christine Peters, clinical lead for microbiology, told BBC Scotland’s Disclosure programme last night: “When I started in 2014, I had raised some issues in writing and I was phoned by a more senior person to say to me ‘you’re new to Glasgow but here we don’t put things in writing because of inquiries and things’.

“That’s what I was told, ‘do not put things in writing’.”

Dr Peters claims that she asked for details of water safety and the ventilator specifications. She added: “When the doors opened I still didn’t have an understanding of what the ventilation strategy was or what the sign-off and commissioning had been for the building or any area of the building.”

Scotland’s Health Secretary Jeane Freeman told the programme: “For me, it’s absolutely vital that whistle-blowers feel they can speak out.

“We need people who are the deliverers of care to be able and willing and feel unintimidated to tell us where they think that there is improvement that is needed – we should be prepared to listen to that and to act on it.”

The health board told the programme it welcomes a public inquiry and insisted the hospital is safe.

It also told Disclosure the recent independent review has found no avoidable deaths linked to shortcomings in the design, build, commissioning and maintenance of the hospitals.

An NHS GGC spokeswoman said several reviews had taken place since the hospital opened.

The spokeswoman added: “Various allegations made to this programme have been investigated independently in various forums and have not been substantiated through any of these independent investigations.

“In particular, the independent review has found no avoidable deaths linked to shortcomings in the design, build, commissioning, and maintenance of the hospitals.”

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