By Dr Andrew Fraser and Dr Brian Montgomery, co-chairs of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) Independent Review

IN recent months several large-scale NHS building projects have come under increasing public and media scrutiny including the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus and, more recently, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

A public inquiry has just been announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to investigate these projects to find out what has happened and to address public concern. This follows the establishment and publication of a number of internal and external independent reports and investigations into the hospitals. Where does that leave the QEUH Independent Review, and will the review continue?

The QEUH Independent Review was set up to address concerns about patient safety at the QEUH campus in Glasgow. This includes both the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the neighbouring Royal Hospital for Children (RHC). It is investigating the buildings’ design, building, commissioning and ongoing maintenance and how these matters contribute to effective infection control.

There are a number of reasons why the review will continue.

The prime focus of the review is about whether the way the hospitals have been built is causing problems with infection control which, in turn, is impacting on patient safety and overall outcomes. The review will publish its report in spring 2020 and will set out any issues it has found and recommend ways of addressing them so that both of these new Glasgow hospitals are facilities which offer high quality, modern healthcare creating opportunities to deliver the best possible outcomes.

This will help us to understand any contributory factors that lie behind several adverse events, restore public confidence in the two hospitals and ensure that any infection control issues arising from the built environment are dealt with. It will also be good for staff working at the hospitals to know that they are working in a high quality environment, that meets the needs of both them and their patients.

The review team do not know at this stage if the public inquiry will focus on infection control issues at these two hospitals. The terms of reference for the new inquiry have not been announced, therefore the review will proceed as planned.

If the public inquiry is asked to investigate infection control issues at the QEUH and RHC, the experience of other public inquiries suggests that it might take some time before the inquiry completes and publishes its recommendations.

The review aims to assess the position with respect to these Glasgow hospitals, and propose steps to assure public confidence in these two hospitals as soon as practicable, ahead of any subsequent inquiry’s report.

Our review has made steady progress. We have received over 2,000 documents so far, which we are assessing to identify key themes for investigation. Just now, we are setting up interviews to take statements from key people and organisations; a series of events to listen to the perspectives of patients and their families will begin soon.

A lot of groundwork has been done to get to this stage. We have visited the QEUH hospital campus on several occasions. Most of these visits have had a clinical focus but recently we visited the hospital, led by our own buildings advisor, to look at the building’s function. We saw how the hospital works by seeing for ourselves a number of plant rooms, the water treatment facilities, air intakes for the ventilation systems, and even the helipad. We have also visited the nearby water treatment works to assess the potential for infection arising there.

We will ensure that the work of the review complements the new inquiry, but our work will not be held back by it. We will publish our report in the spring of next year. The report will be available to the public. In the meantime, we will publish a regular newsletter to update on progress. If you would like a copy please email