Health secretary unveils start date of public inquiry into hospital sites

Health secretary Jeane Freeman

The public inquiry into problems with key building systems at two hospitals will begin in August, the Scottish Government has announced.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed that the inquiry regarding Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus in Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh, which will be chaired by the Lord Brodie QC PC, will begin its work on August 3.

Ms Freeman ordered the statutory inquiry to examine issues relating to ventilation and other key building systems at the sites following concerns from parents.

She said: “The 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.

“I want to make sure this is the case for all future projects, which is why, following calls from affected parents, I announced a Public Inquiry to examine the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital sites.

“The Inquiry’s Remit and Terms of Reference were published on 15 June 2020 and I was pleased to have consulted with Lord Brodie, party spokespeople and patients and families during the drafting process.

“This is a statutory Public Inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 meaning 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 and I wish him and his team well in taking forward this important Inquiry.”

Lord Brodie said: “I welcome the publication of the Terms of Reference of the Public Inquiry and confirmation of the setting up date of 3 August 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably had an impact on preparations for the Inquiry and I look forward to being able to make progress in due course.

“An early action will be to invite those who have been impacted by the issues set out in the Terms of Reference to contact the Inquiry.” 

A separate Independent Review into the QEUH led by Doctor Andrew Fraser and Doctor Brian Montgomery published its findings on June 15.  

The Remit and Terms of Reference for the Public Inquiry were also published on the same date.