Report finds series of problems  at flagship Scots hospital

Cancer patients at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow were "exposed to risk" of infection over a string of shortcomings in its build and commissioning, an independent report has found.

The report into the Queen Elizabeth hospital was published today
The report into the Queen Elizabeth hospital was published today

But there is no evidence of "avoidable deaths" as a result of problems with the ventilation system at the flagship £842 million hospital, after two patients died after contracting infections.

D Brian Montgomery and Dr Andrew Fraser were appointed to lead an inquiry an inquiry after 10-year-old boy and 73-year-old woman died at the Govan hospital campus, which is also home to the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC), in January last year.

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“While the hospital provides a safe healthcare environment for patients, staff and visitors, as the Review progressed our findings caused us to focus on those clinical places caring for children and adults with cancers including leukaemias," Dr Faser said today.

“These specific groups have been exposed to risk that could have been lower if the correct design, build and commissioning had taken place.

“The series of problems and influences that we have identified through the phases of the QEUH project has disrupted treatment for defined groups of patients, meant additional workload for Infection Prevention and Control teams, many clinical groups and hospital management, and diverted resources and attention from the running of this large and complex facility.”

The two "high level" findings of the report state there is no "evidential basis" to say that avoidable deaths have resulted from failures in the design, build, commissioning or maintenance of the Queen Elizabeth Univdersity Hospital or the Royal Hospital for Children. In addition patients, staff and visitors can have confidence that both offer a setting for "high quality healthcare."

But among the nine additional principal findings, the report concludes the effectiveness of Infection Prevention and Control (IP&C) advice was "undermined" by problems within the Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS team dealing with his, as well as relationships with the wider IP&C and microbiology teams.

In addition, both buildings would have benefited from greater external and internal expertise to support decisions about the water and air ventilation systems.

The design of the hospital did not "effectively reconcile" conflicting aims of energy efficiency and meeting guidance standards for air quality.

The level of independent scrutiny was also "not sufficient" throughout the design, build and commissioning phases was not sufficient, the report adds.

And governance of the project during design, build, commissioning and maintenance did not "adequately take account" of the scale and complexity, and specialist nature of the building project.

Health Secretary Jeane 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.”

Ms Freeman said the report provides a “wealth of information” for the forthcoming Public Inquiry into the construction of the Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh.

An Oversight Board, led by Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer Fiona McQueen, will also report on infection prevention and control practices at the Glasgow hospital.

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