Ventilation of children’s hospital to be focus of inquiry

The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People will form the basis for the May round of hearings into two leading Scottish hospitals.

Scottish hospitals inquiry hearings to focus on Edinburgh facility’s ventilation system NHS Lothian

A public inquiry into the safety of ventilation systems at two flagship Scottish hospitals has resumed.

Experts on air circulation and infection control are to give evidence at the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry concerning the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) and the Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh.

The probe, chaired by Lord Brodie, aims to determine whether patients at the facility and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow were put at fatal risk by the construction and design amid a slew of deaths thought to be connected to the two buildings.

The Edinburgh hospital, which replaced the former Sick Children facility, was hit by delays of more than a year-and-a-half before opening in March 2021 when an eleventh-hour inspection uncovered “significant issues” with the ventilation.

It will be the focus of this round of hearings, which will first explore the technical aspects of the apparatus used in hospitals and later the background to the RHCYP’s planning and development.

An independent review previously failed to “conclusively” prove that infections at the children’s cancer ward in the QEUH was caused by the hospital environment, but said it was “probably” the case.

It followed the death of ten-year-old Milly Main in 2017 after contracting the stenotrophomonas infection linked to pigeon droppings thought to be linked to the water supply while she underwent treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Families gave their own evidence to the inquiry last year prior to the ward reopening in March 2022 – four years after being shut down by health officials – following a crucial £9m upgrade.

Lord Brodie said: “Our forthcoming hearing will explore the required ventilation standards in a hospital setting, which will undoubtedly lead us to understand the complex challenges and specific issues of the ventilation systems at the Glasgow and Edinburgh hospitals.”

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