SCOTTISH healthcare facilities are to be probed by MSPs following the deaths of two patients who were diagnosed with an infection linked to pigeon droppings.

A 10-year-old boy died at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow at the end of last year after contracting the Crypotococcus infection, while an elderly woman who tested positive for the fungus later passed away from an unrelated condition.

The Crown Office is currently investigating both deaths, and a separate probe has been launched into the the design and construction of the £842 million flagship hospital.

Last month, Scottish Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs urged MSPs on Holyrood’s Health Committee to examine the spread of infections at the facility.

The committee has now announced an investigation into “the scale of health problems linked to the healthcare environment in Scotland”.

As part of its remit, it will explore what risks exist and how these should be reported and addressed, with a formal evidence session to take place on March 19.

Convener 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.”

Responding to the development, Mr Briggs said: “This is an essential investigation and I’m glad there’s been little time wasted in getting it under way.

“The families of the victims deserve answers and so too do the patients, visitors and staff who use the hospital every day.”

The Crypotococcus infection is believed to have been caused by pigeon droppings found in a plant room on the roof of the QEUH. It is not yet known how the bacteria entered a closed ventilation system.