The Scottish Hospitals Inquiry restarts today, with work carried out at hospitals in Glasgow and Edinburgh under scrutiny.
The inquiry, which was paused in November, is being chaired by Lord Brodie QC. It will examine issues at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow, and both the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP), and the Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DCN) in Edinburgh.
Safety concerns about the functioning of the QEUH prompted the inquiry, which was launched in August 2020.
A review found that the hospital’s environment had at least partly contributed to the deaths of two children, one of whom died after being infected by a rare bacteria. It identified 76 cases where rare bacteria infections were “possibly” linked to the hospital’s environment and 33 cases that were “probably” linked to it.
The inquiry will also consider the design, construction and commissioning of the RHCYP and the DCN in Edinburgh.
A planned opening of the £230m RHCYP on 9 July was cancelled, five days before it was meant to happen, after testing of the ventilation system found only four air changes were happening per hour instead of 10. It finally opened in March 2021.
Meanwhile, the £840m QEUH campus in Glasgow opened in April 2015, and has faced a series of contamination incidents since, linked to issues with water quality and ventilation systems.
An independent review found a “series of problems” with the design and build of the hospital, but no clear evidence to link those failures to any “avoidable deaths”.
Greater Glasgow Health Board is suing Multiplex, Brookfield Europe, Currie & Brown, and Capita Property and Infrastructure for £72.8m over a series of defects it says were found at the QEUH.
These include alleged problems with its water system, ventilation, plant and building services capacity, glazing, doors, heating, atrium roof and other issues. The facility opened in 2015.
Aside from considering whether the design, build and commissioning of the hospitals were able to achieve the functions they were intended to deliver, the inquiry will also look at whether they conform to regulations.