The inquiry commissioned by The Scottish Government into the two hospitals where major failings were discovered after they were built begins on Monday.
The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus and The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences (“The Sick Kids”) were both affected by ventilation and water contamination after completion.
The Sick Kids Hospital then opened the Department of Clinical Neurosciences in July 2020, the mental health services moved into the new campus in January 2021 with the remainder of services moving from Sciennes to Little France in March this year. The hospital had been due to open in July 2019 when the ventilation system was found to be defective. The initial NHS Lothian review reported a human error in a spreadsheet which set out the specifications for the ventilation in certain parts of the building where critical care would be carried out. Changes to the ventilation system were then made to allow the hospital to open to the public.
The inquiry will look at the planning and construction of the hospitals and determine whether the issues could have been foreseen. A further part of the inquiry will make recommendations to ensure any steps which led to this do not happen again.
The inquiry will be led by Lord Brodie and will consider 13 separate terms of reference including whether the health boards had adequate governance processes to oversee the projects, and whether staff felt able to raise any concerns.
The inquiry will be streamed on YouTube here although it may be some time before anyone is actually seen giving evidence as there are restriction orders against Witnesses 1 to 5 who will not be named or viewed giving their evidence.
Lord Brodie launched the inquiry and outlined what will be decided and how it will be conducted here:
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar MSP said: “At the heart of this tragedy are patients and families who have been affected by catastrophic failings. In some cases, they have lost loved ones.
“Their evidence is crucial to this inquiry, but I know it will be incredibly difficult for people to relive their experiences this week – and my thoughts are with all those who will find the next few weeks deeply upsetting.
“Incredibly, nobody has still been held to account for the failings at the QEUH, and patients, families and the public remain in the dark about how this scandal happened.
“If it wasn’t for the bravery of NHS whistleblowers, we would be even further from the truth.
“Families deserve answers, and this inquiry must get to the bottom of what went so tragically wrong.”