Investigating a hospital incident invites affected families to share their experiences

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At two of the country’s largest new hospitals, the chairman of an investigation into design failures urged everyone affected by the problems to come forward.

The chairman of the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry, Lord Brodie, has also spoken with members of patients and families affected, but would like to hear from more individuals and find out what went wrong and how patients were affected.

The independent report, initiated in August, investigates the building of Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus (QEUH) and Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and the Department of Clinical Neurosciences (RHCYP/DCN).

Lord Brodie said in a video appeal that his “priority” is to “further engage with families and those affected to hear what they have to say.”

The investigation will examine how concerns related to ventilation adequacy, water pollution and other issues have impacted patient safety and treatment, and whether those issues could have been avoided.

The investigation will also investigate the effects on patients and their families of these issues and whether the buildings provide an acceptable atmosphere for the delivery of secure, efficient treatment. It will make recommendations to ensure that in future NHS infrastructure projects, past failures are not replicated.

“We approached a wide range of people interested in the work of the investigation and met with a number of them, including patient representatives and their families in both hospitals, and gained very helpful insights from these discussions,” Lord Brodie said.

“We have begun to gather and familiarize ourselves with relevant documentation, including material provided as a result of my earlier call to anyone with information to come forward,” he said.

“Together, these findings and documents have informed the process of identifying the specific lines of inquiry that the investigation will pursue.”

The video update from Lord Brodie also outlines progress made since the launch in August and sets out goals for the coming year. The recruiting of analysts, information and record administrators, lawyers and legal counsel requires recent developments.

As the year comes to a close, I am pleased with the progress made so far, Lord Brodie said. The Inquiries Act 2005 allows an inquiry to be set up from scratch, which means that in the first place a lot of planning needs to be done.

“We have done this while struggling with the changing circumstances and constraints arising from Covid-19,” he said.

Having said that, we have employed a strong team to continue to connect with families and those affected, building on the recent months of work.

I provided a call earlier this year to do so before Dec. 31, 2020 for those applying for core participant status, and the deadline for consideration is not far away.

We invite everyone who has information relating to the mandate of the enquiry to come forward and share it with us regardless of core participant status. Our mandate and contact details can be found on our website.

The inquiry was requested by the Scottish government following the deaths in 2018 and 2019 of three patients related to bird droppings and the supply of water at QEUH.

Kimberly Darroch, the mother of 10-year-old Milly Main, who died after contracting an infection at QEUH in 2017, has taken legal proceedings against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, blaming her death on tainted water at the £ 842 million hospital.

No clear evidence was found in the independent report that preventable deaths resulted from failures in the design, building, commissioning or maintenance of QEUH and the Glasgow Royal Hospital for Children (RHC).

The inquiry, which is likely to take several years, will also look at weaknesses in the ventilation system design at the new Sick Kids Hospital in the capital, which has yet to open.

Only one day before it was expected to open, the Scottish government stepped in to avoid the opening of the children’s hospital.

Contact details and more information about the brief are on the website and can be found at www.hospitalsinquiry.scot.

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