NHS takes legal action against ‘super hospital’ builder

The £850m Queen Elizabeth University Hospital has been plagued by problems since 2015.

QEUH: Hospital has faced a string of crises.
QEUH: Hospital has faced a string of crises.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is to take legal action against a contractor which helped design and build the city’s ‘super-hospital’.

The health board will take Brookfield Multiplex to court “as a matter of urgency” after receiving advice from laywers.

It comes after Scottish ministers escalated the board to stage four of its performance escalation framework, putting it into “special measures”.

The decision followed the deaths of two children on a ward at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) affected by water contamination.

There have been ongoing issues relating to infection prevention, management and control at QEUH and the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC), which share a campus.

The £850m “super-hospital” site opened its doors to patients in April 2015.

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A report by NHS GCC chief executive to the board on Tuesday calls on members to agree to “raise appropriate court proceedings as a matter of urgency”.

She said the QEUH campus is “one of largest healthcare facilities in Europe”, taking in a large volume of patients and noting the continued problems with infection control

It comes after external advisors reviewed the hospital facilities and the environmental impact of the design and construction of the complex.

The legal measures are still to be approved by the full board, which is currently meeting.

A decision to take legal action would mean the health board cannot publish the findings of its external technical advisors.

Anas Sarwar, Labour MSP for Glasgow who recently highlighted fresh cases of infection leaked to him by a whistleblower, called on the health board to take responsibility for the hospital.

He said: “This hospital was commissioned by the health board, the building was overseen by the health board, it was signed off by the health board despite warnings about the high risk of infection, it was opened by the health board, and the infections scandal was subsequently covered up by the health board.

“If senior managers are now accepting there were problems with the hospital, who is going to take responsibility for opening it and putting patients at risk? 

“At the heart of this scandal is not a contractual arrangement, but a catalogue of failings and a cover-up by hospital managers which led to a child losing their life.”

NHS GGC chief executive Jane Grant said in a statement: “Having sought independent legal advice, we can confirm the board today has agreed to pursue legal action.”