Bosses knew that hospital failed safety tests…then 3 patients died
SCOTLAND’S crisis-hit ‘super-hospital’ was allowed to open even after its ventilation system failed to meet safety standards.
Outbreaks of infection, which may have spread through the system at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, in Glasgow, have led to the deaths of two patients.
A ten-year-old boy and a 73-yearold woman died after catching Cryptococcus, a fungal infection linked to pigeon droppings, which were found in air ducts. Investigations into the exact circumstances of the deaths, and that of a third patient who had a separate infection, are ongoing.
Now it has emerged that not all ventilation systems at the hospital complex met standards stipulated in the Scottish Health Technical Memorandum when the building opened.
The decision to open the £1billion hospital in 2015 contrasts with a last ‘derogations’ minute move in July to postpone patient transfers to the new children’s hospital in Edinburgh, which failed to meet ventilation standards.
Scottish Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs has written to Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to seek clarification on the issue.
He said: ‘This is just the latest troubling information regarding a hospital building project in Scotland that the SNP has mismanaged.’
Last year children being treated for cancer were moved out of two wards in the QEUH after a spate of infections that were originally linked to water supply or drainage issues.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is now spending £2million upgrading the ventilation systems connected to these wards. A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said – relaxations of rules governing ventilation – had been agreed when the system was being developed, but said this was standard practice for complex projects.
The spokesman said: ‘Patient safety is of paramount importance to the Board. Infection rates at both hospitals are low and the hospitals are clinically safe.
‘The general air filtration system is of a high industry standard.’
A public inquiry into the hospital construction projects was ordered by Miss Freeman earlier this week.
A report by accountancy firm KPMG last week said the key issue that led to the move from the old Sick Kids building in Edinburgh to the new £150million property at Little France being cancelled was ‘the noncompliance with the Scottish Health Technical Memorandum for air change rates in some of the critical care areas of the hospital’.
‘Of paramount importance’
SHE was supposed to be a safe pair of hands but since becoming health Secretary, Jeane Freeman has lurched from one disaster to another.
Earlier this year two patients were revealed to have died at the new Queen Elizabeth University hospital from an infection which may have spread through the ventilation system.
Yesterday it emerged that the superhospital was allowed to open despite fears over the very system which is thought to have led to these deaths.
It comes weeks after Miss Freeman was forced to make a last-minute intervention and halt the opening of the Royal hospital for Sick Children and Young People in Edinburgh over similar problems.
The latest damaging revelations will do nothing to calm the worries of patients.
It is now vital that the public inquiry into both hospitals do everything in their power to restore the confidence of patients and staff.
There’s not much to say on that. Two new PFI hospitals, and two failures on a huge scale, that are costing lives, and costing us millions more than they’re worth, and millions more to fix them.
The SNP are the problem, not the solution.