Glasgow Hospital Design 'Did Not Cause Avoidable Deaths'

Nicky Broyd

June 19, 2020

An official report has said there were a "series of problems" with the design and build of Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH)  in Glasgow which opened in 2015.

However, the independent Queen Elizabeth University Hospital review found no clear evidence to link the failures in water quality and ventilation systems to avoidable deaths.

A public inquiry is still to be held into problems at the hospital.

Pigeons 'Cleared'

In January 2019, Medscape News UK reported that a cryptococcal fungal infection at the hospital, possibly linked to pigeon droppings, may have played a part in the deaths of two patients.

However, the report said: "There is no evidence to support the hypothesis that there is a causal link between the helipad and air contaminated with pigeon droppings being forced into the hospital ventilation system."

The Scottish Government conceded that while the hospital now offers high quality healthcare, the initial design didn’t fully take into account the needs of some vulnerable patients.

Recommendations

The report makes 63 recommendations, including over air and water quality in clinical environments, and the clinical significance of rare microorganisms.

The report chairs were Dr Andrew Fraser, director of public health science with NHS Health Scotland, and Dr Brian Montgomery, an independent healthcare consultant.

In a statement, Dr Fraser said: "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.

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

Dr Montgomery said: "We have tried to concentrate on learning from the experience in a way that will avoid repetition of mistakes and enhance future projects."
 

Families 'Deserve Answers'

Scotland's Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said in a statement: "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."

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