According to a new report, legal action against the builders of Glasgow’s super-hospital has wrongly led NHS bosses to be “increasingly reticent when it comes to infection control issues at the site,”
A Scottish government-appointed oversight panel interim report found that the legal case “appears to be hampering the health board’s ability to be as open and responsive as patients and families need.”
At the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) and Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) complex, which opened in 2015, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is suing construction giant Brookfield Multiplex for £ 73 million in damages over a number of design deficiencies and defects that allegedly undermined “safe and effective healthcare” for patients.
There is a possibility that the health authority will become increasingly hesitant to comment on or address aspects of what has occurred in relation to infectious disease outbreaks, citing the risks of endangering the pending legal case, the interim report added.
Discovered variant covid cases in Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire
This has strengthened the feeling among some families that NHS GGC has not implemented a strategy that places children, young people and affected families first in terms of openness and sensitivity.
“While the Oversight Board appreciates the legal issues facing NHS GGC and the power of legal advice, it believes that alternative approaches were and are possible and that the current continued silence on many of these issues will not address the underlying concerns about communication and engagement that led to the escalation to Stage Four.”
In December 2019, in the midst of rising pressure over bacterial outbreaks linked to water supply and ventilation systems, the health authority ordered its lawyers to launch legal proceedings “as a matter of urgency”
In November 2019, Minister of Health Jeane Freeman escalated NHS GGC to level four – essentially special steps.
This culminated in the appointment of the Supervisory Board to resolve critical problems resulting from the service at QEUH and the RHC of infection prevention and control, governance, and contact and involvement.
Controversy over the handling of contamination scandals, including the deaths of two cancer patients who contracted unusual fungal infections, usually transmitted by pigeon feces, accompanied the change into special measures while undergoing care at QEUH.
Questions were also raised about the death of 10-year-old leukemia patient Milly Main in August 2017, who had a successful stem cell transplant but then suffered fatal organ failure after contracting a Hickman line germ used for intravenous drug administration.
The incident occurred in a pediatric oncology unit at the Royal Hospital for Children that was later closed after a cluster of infections related to the water supply.
We would have had a regular Christmas, but July was the time.
A whistleblower had previously disclosed that 26 infections at RHC that could have been linked to tainted water were found during 2017 by a physician-led study.
The health department has said it is difficult to prove that Milly contracted the infection from the water supply of the hospital because at the time it was not considered a potential source, meaning the supply of water was not checked.
“much good evidence of a compassionate approach to communication within NHS GGC, particularly by staff at the point of care.”a great deal of evidence of a compassionate approach to communication within the NHS GGC, especially by point-of-care personnel.
This technique was, however, “inconsistently applied across the organization.”
“She added: “Too many patients and families feel like it has not been done in a timely and thorough manner when it comes to contact that goes beyond the ward stage, and that too often they are the last to know.
“This feeling has accumulated over several years and is currently straining relationships between some families and the board (and in a few cases has contributed to the breakdown of those relationships).”
Investigators said they also encountered ‘a plethora of additional local guidelines and national standards interpretations that risked the development of’ GGC-We