Health Hazards in the Healthcare Environment

 

About the Inquiry

The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) Glasgow opened in 2015. Several issues have arisen at the hospital since it opened regarding water hygiene, external cladding, the ventilation system and glazing failures which have raised concerns regarding patient safety.

Most recently the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport informed the Parliament on 22 January of the Cryptococcus Infection at the hospital and the mucoraceous mould infection.

A letter received by the Cabinet Secretary on 5 February indicated that she had requested Healthcare Environment Inspectorate undertaken an inspection of the hospital site to provide independent assurance of the safety of the patient care environment.

The Cabinet Secretary also confirmed that she would set up an independent external review to look at the building’s design, commissioning and construction, handover and ongoing maintenance, how these matters contribute to effective infection control and any other areas considered necessary by those carrying out the review.

An independent chair will be appointed. The review’s recommendations will be made public and the Scottish Government will inform the Parliament of its response to the review recommendations.

Committee approach

The Committee agreed at its meeting on 29 January to undertake a short inquiry to identify the scale of any health problems acquired from the healthcare environment in Scotland whilst also considering the wider implications for health facilities across Scotland.

Timetable

The Committee held an oral evidence session on 19 March with the following organisations: 

  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Health Facilities Scotland
  • Health Protection Scotland

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman MSP, updated the Committee on the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital at an evidence session on 19 November 2019.

Evidence

To support this work the Committee issued a targeted call for written views running from Tuesday 12 February – Thursday 28 February 2019.

Read the call for written views

Read the written submissions

Correspondence

The Convener received a letter from Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport on 22 February 2019 regarding the publication of the Health Protection Scotland report.

On 5 March 2019 the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport wrote to the Convener advising of the appointments of Chairs to the independent review of Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. 

On 8 March 2019 Healthcare Improvement Scotland published their report and action plan following the inspection that took place at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde from 29-31 January 2019. 

Following the evidence session on 19 March 2019 the Convener issued a joint letter to the Health and Safety Executive, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Health Facilities Scotland and Health Protection Scotland on 22 March 2019.

The Convener received a response on 29 March 2019.

Following consideration of the above response, the Convener issued a letter to Jeane Freeman MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport on 2 May 2019 regarding a range of themes and issues arising from the inquiry. 

The Cabinet Secretary replied on 14 May 2019.

Following consideration of the response from the Cabinet Secretary, the Convener issued a letter on 29 May seeking further information in relation to the Independent Review of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow. 

The Cabinet Secretary replied on 11 June 2019.

Following the Cabinet Secretary's decision on 4 July to delay the move to the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP), Edinburgh due to a number of building systems standards not being met, we received a letter updating the Committee on the factors leading to that decision and steps being taken. 

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport provided an update on the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP), Edinburgh to the Scottish Parliament during Chamber business on 11 September 2019.  Following this update, the Cabinet Secretary issued a letter to the Health and Sport Committee. 

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport wrote to the Committee on 16 September 2019 with a further update to advise on the appointment of Mary Morgan as Senior Programme Director to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neuroscience project, Edinburgh. 

We received a further letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport on 18 September 2019 confirming in writing the announcement of a public inquiry ahead of the Chamber Debate on Mismanagement of NHS Construction Projects.

Following recent announcements and updates the Convener wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport regarding her offer to update the Committee directly, inviting her to attend on 19 November 2019. 

The Convener also issued a letter to the Auditor General for Scotland regarding the additional costs to the overall health budget resulting from recent events and the delay to the opening of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh.

We received a response from the Auditor General for Scotland on 30 September 2019 confirming that a report will be drafted under Section 22(3) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000. The report will be based on the two recent independent reviews by KPMG and NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) and the Auditor's report for NHS Lothian year ended 31 March 2019. It is intended that the report will be laid in the Scottish Parliament by the end of November 2019. 

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport wrote to the Committee on 4 October 2019 following the update to the Scottish Parliament on discussions she has had with families of paediatric cancer patients affected by the infection outbreaks at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow. 

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport wrote to the Committee on 30 October 2019 to advise of the publication of the second and final part of a review into compliance of all building systems at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Edinburgh.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport wrote to the Committee on 22 November 2019 to advise that the Board of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will be escalated to Stage 4 of the performance framework regarding the issues relating to infection prevention, management and control at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow.  An Oversight Board will also be put in place.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport wrote to the Committee on 28 November 2019 to advise that the Right Honourable Lord Brodie QC PC has been appointed as inquiry Chair regarding the matters at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh.

 
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