FAMILIES of those impacted by infection outbreaks at a super hospital controversy have demanded an inquiry must “get to the bottom” of the scandal.

A public inquiry, chaired by Lord Brodie, beings today into the ventilation and building systems at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow, as well as issues at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Young People in Edinburgh – which saw the opening of the facility delayed just days before it was due to open last year.

Concerns were brought to light over possible water contamination in the QEUH and the risk of infections last year, with a report published in June saying that cancer patients were put at a higher risk of infection due to the design and maintenance of the building.

However, no avoidable deaths were said to have taken place, according to the review.

Opposition politicians have demanded the inquiry does not become a “whitewash” but Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has suggested she would like to see it look further afield, particularly at the culture within the health service, and listen to the expertise of staff members.

Molly Cuddihy, who has bone cancer, contracted a rare infection at the Glasgow hospital in 2018.

Her father, Professor John Cuddihy, told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme that the inquiry must investigate long-standing issues with “trust, transparency and accountability” at QEUH.

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Professor Cuddihy added that families are “very pleased that the public inquiry will be conducted and an independent examination of very many issues that have been highlighted”.

He said: “I think first and foremost that when you receive the news that your child has contracted cancer, and following that treatment that they may then have contracted a bacteria whilst within the hospital, nothing will change that.

“No public inquiry, no Crown Office inquiry will ever change the heartache that that brings.”

He added: “However we must have confidence in a system that allows us to get to the bottom of exactly what happened when the hospital was opened. “Was the water contaminated? Was there issues with the ventilation? And if so, how did this impact on the safety and security and wellbeing of our children.”

Scottish Tory health spokesperson, Miles Briggs, said the investigation is likely to shed light on “systemic failures”.

He added: “Lord Brodie has a wide-ranging remit to take as much evidence as he feels necessary, and the parents have been promised they will be satisfied by the scope of the inquiry.

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“For their sake, and those of parents across Scotland, this inquiry cannot whitewash the role of the SNP government and successive Scottish health secretaries.

“Experts and parents have already expressed forceful concerns about what has happened at QEUH and also the Sick Kids construction project — itself an awful saga more than a decade long.

“The public confidence has been shaken and it must be restored quickly. In years to come, this inquiry will be viewed as a landmark moment in Scotland and it has to be done right.”

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Ms Freeman has stressed that “safety and well-being of all patients and their families is my top priority and should be the primary consideration in all NHS construction projects”.

She added: “The inquiry is a critical next step in seeking to understand the issues that affected both the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus site in Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences site in Edinburgh. It will also make recommendations to ensure that any past mistakes are not repeated in future NHS infrastructure projects.

“The inquiry’s remit and terms of reference are detailed and comprehensive and I was pleased to have had the opportunity to consult with Lord Brodie, party spokespeople and patients and families during the drafting process.”

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She added: “I have always been clear that those who have been affected deserve answers to the many questions they are entitled to ask – and this is an important step in delivering that.

“It is a statutory public inquiry and this means it will have the power to require witnesses to attend and to disclose information relating to the inquiry’s work. It is entirely independent and its conduct, procedures and lines of enquiry are a matter for the chair.

“I would like to again extend my thanks to Lord Brodie for agreeing to act as chair. I wish him and his team well in taking forward this important work.”