Hospital infection review team launches call to public for evidence
27 June 2019, 14:02 | Updated: 27 June 2019, 14:03
A woman whose mother died after contracting a bug in hospital has demanded assurances as a team reviewing infection control concerns at the facility launched a call for evidence.
The independent review is investigating whether the design, build, commissioning and maintenance of the £842 million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) and Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) in Glasgow has had an adverse impact on the risk of healthcare-associated infection.
It was ordered by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman in January following the deaths of two patients - an adult and a child - after they contracted cryptococcus, an infection linked to pigeon droppings.
In March, a woman died after contracting a fungal infection at the hospital.
The review, led by Dr Brian Montgomery and Dr Andrew Fraser, will look at whether the built environment of QEUH and RHC is making it difficult for staff to deliver "optimal practice" in infection prevention and control.
Dr Fraser said: "A number of events have come to public attention around control of infection issues and our independent review has been set up to focus on these matters to ensure that conditions are right for control of infection, not only for this hospital but for all our hospitals, in the future."
Beth Armstrong, whose mother died in the hospital in January after contracting cryptococcus, was among members of the public who attended the launch of the call for evidence.
She asked whether the review will consider the external environment such as the proximity of a sewage works as well as internal factors.
She added: "Will there be an obligation to act on your findings? Will the NHS board be forced to take action on your findings or will they just be recommendations?"
Dr Fraser said a hospital has been on the site for a long time and that while they would take the location into account, it would not be a prime focus of the review.
Dr Montgomery said the review was commissioned by the Health Secretary and they would be disappointed if its findings were not taken seriously.
The review will look at areas including the overall design of QEUH/RHC, with particular reference to the safety of water, drainage and ventilation systems.
It will also examine whether the hospital has been used in a way that differs from the original design intentions, and whether this has compromised infection prevention and control.
Those leading the review said they do not yet have evidence that issues and concerns already raised have been adequately addressed.
Dr Montgomery said they are looking at the other processes that are in place and will keep an eye on other reviews, and stressed the infection control report will be in the public domain.
Dr Fraser said they do not yet have a figure for how many people have died as a result of infections.
He said: "There have been several deaths linked to the hospital and healthcare-associated infections and we want to affirm what has happened.
"I wouldn't make any precise estimate because we want to look at the picture not only of people who died, sadly, from infections linked to these healthcare-associated events but also people made ill who have not died and we don't know the full picture."
The doctors urged anyone who may have relevant information to engage with the review team can find contact details at www.queenelizabethhospitalreview.scot.