EVIDENCE is accumulating that the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is a dangerous white elephant, with which Glasgow will have to endure for the next century, after a cost of at least £850 million ("Hospital defects put patients at higher risk", The Herald, June 16).

It is now clear that building the hospital next to a sewage works and waste handling facility was the utmost folly. This would surely have been obvious when the decision was made, given the recent inquiry finding that sealed windows and a complex air conditioning system was required to keep out the long-recognised Southern General pong. Was it not the case that historically perfume was regularly sprayed on the works to hide the smell? To have ignored the risks of the site was negligent, or if deliberate, much worse.

Furthermore, having spoken with staff and visited relatives there, the hospital is the most oppressive building with wards of depressing single rooms which mimic a prison. The misguided view that expensive single rooms were necessary to avoid infections ignored the equal effect of hand-washing, staff behaviour and fresh air. Space, light and human contact are all recognised as healing effects, which are impossible in the Guantanamo-like QE. It is a “sick” hospital, and will always be so.

While the recent and future inquiries will elucidate all the faults of the building, the fundamental question must be who decided to build the hospital on the Southern site and why? The rational, semi-rural clean alternative of Cowglen was dismissed as having poor transport links, which is ironic given the ongoing access problems at the QE.

The decision to build at Govan must have been taken by those in charge of the Greater Glasgow Health Board at the time, and I suspect hubris and the phenomenon of “aye been” affected the then chief executive and board, who may have wished for a legacy building and could not see the Southern disappear. I did note the campaign to retain the Southern name despite the QEUH replacing more than one hospital. Furthermore, the decision to spend £850m in Govan might not have passed without some influence from the then Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon, who had significant political interests in Govan. Alternatively, her lack of inquiry as to the justification for Govan was negligent.

No doubt there will be further deaths and future inquiries but the ultimate blame for the catastrophic decision to build Scotland’s flagship hospital on the Southern site will never be attributed or accepted.

Gavin R Tait, East Kilbride.