Health chiefs line up legal action over city super-hospital’s ‘flaws’
HEALTH chiefs are considering legal action against the contractors behind the design and construction of Glasgow’s problem-hit super-hospital, papers have revealed for the first time.
The death of a number of patients linked to bacterial infections and a series of faults with the £840million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital has prompted an internal inquiry by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and a separate investigation by the Scottish Government, which are both ongoing.
In the most serious incident, an elderly woman and a 10-year-old boy, believed to be suffering from cancer, died after developing a bug linked to pigeon droppings at the hospital, which was built by Brookfield Multiplex and designed by Nightingale Associates.
NHSGGC has allocated £1.2million to upgrade the hospital’s ventilation system and has already spent thousands dealing with other flaws including faulty glass panels on the exterior of the building and replacing all the blinds in the single rooms.
Official NHSGGC board papers state that, depending on the outcome of the internal review: “The Board may then address the contracting parties with regard to any breach in contractual liability, and, where applicable, seek legal recourse to remedy the Board position.”
A spokesman for the health board added: “No decisions will be made on possible legal recourse until the external and internal reviews are concluded.”.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the source of the Cryptococcus infection did not originate in a plant room at the top of the building as previously thought.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the likely source of the infection had been traced to a 12th floor room containing machinery, where pigeon excrement had been found.
Pictures later emerged showing feathers and bird faeces in several areas of the room which housed machinery linked to the hospital’s air conditioning system.
However, according to the health board papers, subsequent tests have now ruled this area out as a possible source.
“The initial hypothesis suggested a plant room could have been a source, however air sampling results did not support this.”
The board said there had been no further cases since December 11, and said investigations are continuing with support from UK experts.
It has also emerged that hygiene amongst nursing staff at a hospital where another patient died after contracting another bacterial infection was below the standard expected.
In February, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the bug stenotrophomonas maltophilia had been a factor in the death of a patient at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.
Two other patients had been affected.
A number of remedial actions were taken by the health board including a deep clean and regular hand hygiene audits which found: “The results of the audit highlighted improvements (were) required in technique used.”
A spokesman for NHSGGC said: “Appropriate hand hygiene is important in all hospital settings.
“We routinely monitor this to ensure compliance across all of our hospitals and our hand hygiene co-ordinator reported compliance stands at 97 per cent board wide against the national standard of 95 per cent.
The infection in the ward has been robustly managed and there have been no further cases since late February.”
The Evening Times contacted Brookfield and Nightingale Associates for comment regarding possible legal action.
‘‘ No decisions will be made on possible legal recourse until the reviews are concluded
NHS bosses have launched an internal inquiry into ‘faults’ at the £842million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, in Glasgow