Holyrood committee starts Queen Elizabeth hospital inquiry

  • 12 February 2019

QEUHImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Two patients died after contracting an infection linked to pigeon droppings at he Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

A Holyrood inquiry into hospital safety prompted by the deaths of two patients from an infection connected to pigeon droppings is to get under way.

The investigation will assess safety of NHS premises following the deaths at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

The patients died in December after contracting a fungal infection linked to the droppings.

It was a contributing factor in one of the fatalities – a 10-year-old boy.

MSPs aim to identify the scale of health problems linked to the healthcare environment in Scotland.

The Scottish government has previously announced an independent external review following the fatalities.

But the Scottish Parliament’s health and sport committee’s inquiry will have a wider focus looking at healthcare environments across the country, exploring what risks exist and how these should be reported and addressed.

Healthcare workers are being asked to share their views on the safety of Scotland’s health environments with MSPs.

Image copyright Andrew Cowan
Image caption Lewis Macdonald is asking for input from healthcare workers

Commenting on the inquiry, the committee’s convenor Lewis Macdonald MSP, said: “Like everyone across Scotland, I was deeply troubled by the nature of the deaths at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

“There are a number of ongoing investigations into what happened, but this raises wider issues about the safety and control of healthcare environments in Scotland.

“The committee is determined to understand how standards are upheld and consider existing protocols in place. We are also going to look at the adequacy of systems and processes for reporting and controlling outbreaks when they do occur. This is why we want to hear from healthcare professionals from across Scotland.”

Committee’s questions to staff

  • What is the scale of health problems acquired from the healthcare environment in Scotland?
  • What and where are the main risks?
  • Are the current systems and processes in Scotland adequate for monitoring, reporting, eliminating or controlling these hazards?

The inquiry follows the death of a patient at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley on 7 February after contracting the hospital infection stenotrophomonas maltophilia. The bacteria was named as a contributing factor in the death.

Two babies died after contracting the staphylococcus aureus bacterium at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital last month.

Shortly before that, one patient at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow became seriously ill after contracting the fungal infection mucor.

And in December, a 10-year-old boy and an adult died after becoming infected with cryptococcus, an infection related to pigeon droppings, at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Anyone wishing to participate is advised to contact the committee at this address: HealthandSport@parliament.scot

BBC News – Scotland

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