Health board sorry after report finds hospital failings

Review looked at issues surrounding infection prevention and control at the QEUH in Glasgow.

The £842m hospital opened in 2015. SNS Group via SNS Group
The £842m hospital opened in 2015.

A health board has apologised to families after an interim report into infection issues found failings at one of Scotland’s newest hospitals.

The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Oversight Board was set up to address the specific issues of infection prevention and control at the £842m facility, which opened in 2015.

A separate independent review was ordered by health secretary Jeane Freeman following the deaths of three patients between December 2018 and February 2019.

An adult and a child died after they contracted cryptococcus, an infection linked to pigeon droppings.

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Milly Main, ten, died in 2017 at the hospital from an infection, which her mother said she believes was “100%” due to contaminated water.

The oversight board said it recognised that there were “significant shortcomings” in the construction and handover of the QEUH, and how NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) responded to emerging and related problems.

It said these “include the concerns that were raised by a number of clinicians at an early stage as well as how ‘warning signals’ about potential problems were – or were not – acted upon over the years”.

The report said some of the clinicians did not feel that their concerns – particularly about water and ventilation and the risk of their contribution to infection of such a vulnerable patient population – were being effectively addressed.

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The independent review, published in June, found no sound evidence avoidable deaths resulted from failures in the design, build, commissioning or maintenance of the QEUH and Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) which is part of the campus, but said certain aspects of the design, build, commissioning and maintenance of the flagship hospital have increased the risk of infections.

The interim report published on Monday highlighted dissatisfaction among parents about communication with NHSGGC, which was placed in level-four special measures by the Scottish Government last year amid the ongoing concerns.

Wards 2A and 2B at RHC were closed in September 2018 after contamination was found in water outlets and drains in 2A, and children were moved to wards in the main QEUH building.

The report said there had been “a clear failure of the goals of communication” for this group of children and their families, with suggestions patients and families were hearing about key information through the media and health board press releases, rather than directly, adding to an impression of too often being “kept in the dark”.

The report made 17 recommendations including that the health board should pursue “more active and open transparency”.

Jane Grant, NHSGGC chief executive, said: “The report covers what has been a very difficult period for our patients, their families and our staff and I would once again say how sorry we are for the distress caused to families affected.

“The findings highlight several areas of learning for NHSGGC. We are fully committed to applying those lessons from this experience.

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“We welcome the areas of good practice highlighted – in particular the praise for staff working within the unit who worked tirelessly to support patients and families throughout this time. The oversight board has also endorsed the steps we have been taking over the past year to improve, and this is also encouraging.

“Nevertheless, there remain lessons for the board to learn and we are committed to implementing the recommendations in this interim report and to continuing to work with the oversight board as they conclude their work, including the ongoing case note review.”

The Scottish Government has also published its response to the independent report published in June.

Freeman said a number of initiatives are already being taken forward, including the establishment of the National Centre for Reducing Risk in the Healthcare Built Environment.

She said: “The interim report from the oversight board includes clear recommendations for how QEUH can strengthen infection prevention and control and it includes important learning that can be applied to the future design and build of healthcare facilities.”

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar said: “It’s clear there were catastrophic failings from the hospital management.

“Families deserve closure, which is why we must ensure they receive all the answers they seek – and there is still a great deal of work to do to deliver justice.”

Scottish Conservatives health spokesman Donald Cameron said: “This report will make grim reading for the parents and loved ones of the children caught up in the infection incidents.

“It is now clear that both leadership and communications were lacking at the health board and this inevitably led to the failures identified in the report.

“Any failures in infection control procedures are unacceptable, the health board must ensure that this is an area which the highest standards are implemented throughout.   

“It is without question that the report’s recommendations be implemented with haste and progress monitored closely.”


Glasgow Covid cases rise is ‘red flag’, says health expert

Professor Linda Bauld said the surge in coronavirus cases in Glasgow 'needs to be dealt with'.

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Warning: Rise in coronavirus cases in Glasgow.

The rise in coronavirus cases in Glasgow is a “red flag that needs to be dealt with”, a senior health expert has warned.

It comes after a third of the 345 new cases of Covid-19 recorded in Scotland on Wednesday were found to be in the city.

Pollokshields, in the southside of Glasgow, has the highest transmission rate in Scotland – 575 per 100,000, which is just slightly higher than in Easterhouse, in the east end of the city.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that the situation in Glasgow is being monitored “very closely”, amidst concern over the so-called Indian variant.

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Lockdown restrictions are set to be eased for most of Scotland from Monday, with Glasgow due to be moved into level two.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, said that a “robust response” is needed to the rise in cases.

Asked if she would advise the Scottish Government against moving Glasgow to level two, she said: “I’m not privy to all the information that they are, it’s for them to make that decision.

“But we do need a robust response and I suppose we’ll hear from them in the next few days what that decision is.”

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Professor Bauld continued: “We need to benefit from the progress that we’ve made and not put it at risk.

“And in the past, and this is just a historical point, we perhaps have not acted early enough to get on top of outbreaks.

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Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh.

“So, as I say nationally, I remain optimistic, but I think this is just a red flag that needs to be dealt with.”

Professor Bauld said that a local approach to identify cases should be the first step in tackling cases in the city.

“I would say it’s for policy colleagues to decide what happens,” she explained.

“There’s over 600,000 people living in Glasgow City local authority, it seems perhaps premature to say – once again remember Glasgow has been hard hit with restrictions in the past – okay the whole city can’t move.

“I think a localised approach really, as I say, concentrated identification and support of cases is the first step.

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“But obviously others will be making those decisions.”

Professor Bauld indicated that her message to people would be to use caution as more is opened up from next week.

She said: “We’re moving completely in the right direction, we want to keep moving in that direction.

“We don’t want to take a step back and that means that we all need to try and follow the guidance and when more things open next week, do that really, really cautiously and just make sure that we don’t have more community transmission.”


Party leaders sworn in at start of new Holyrood term

Returning and new members are being sworn in following last week’s Scottish Parliament election.

The Scottish Parliament via The Scottish Parliament

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scotland’s other party leaders have been sworn in as MSPs.

Returning and new members of the Scottish Parliament were sworn in on Thursday morning following last week’s Holyrood election.

Outgoing Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh, who decided not to stand in the election, ran proceedings, which require MSPs to pledge their allegiance to the Queen before they are allowed to undertake any parliamentary duties or receive their MSP salary.

If the oath or affirmation is not taken within two months, they will lose their seat.

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The First Minister made an affirmation, followed by Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar taking the oath.

Beforehand, Sturgeon said the SNP “pledges loyalty to the people of Scotland in line with the Scottish constitutional tradition of the sovereignty of the people”.

Ahead of his affirmation, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said he wanted to reassert that his party’s “allegiance lies with the people of Scotland who elected this Parliament and who are sovereign, and we look forward to the day when they can choose their own elected head of state”.

His fellow Greens co-leader Lorna Slater also chose to affirm.

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Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie was the last party leader to be sworn in and he took the oath.

The rest of the MSPs are being sworn in in alphabetical order.

Ariane Burgess, who gave her affirmation in Gaelic, said beforehand she believes “the people of Scotland are sovereign”.

A number of MSPs will take their oath in a language other than English, including Scots, Gaelic, Urdu, Orcadian, Doric and even, in the case of Zimbabwe-born North East Green MSP Maggie Chapman, Zimbabwean Shona.

The oath will be followed by the election of the new Presiding Officer, who will take charge of proceedings in Parliament for the next five years.

No MSP has yet signalled their intent publicly to stand for the position, which requires elected members to renounce their party affiliation and act cross-party for the duration.

Parliamentary arithmetic could prevent some MSPs from putting themselves forward for the position, given the SNP is just one seat short of a majority.

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If the SNP puts someone forward, it would drop further away from the 65 MSPs needed to pass legislation on its own – whereas the chamber would be tied if an opposition MSP takes the role.

Friday will see the election of deputy presiding officers, who do not have to relinquish their party affiliation.


Footballers ‘suffer in silence to save their careers’

David Cox has suffered abuse on and off the pitch since first talking about attempts to end his life.

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Footballers won’t talk about their mental health problems in case it damages their careers, a striker who suffered abuse following suicide attempts has warned.

David Cox says many professional players are suffering in silence because they fear being released by their clubs or left unable to secure new contracts.

Cox recently announced his retirement after accusing a fellow player of mocking his mental health issues during a game.

He left the match in question at half-time, with an investigation ongoing into the alleged comments, which are strongly denied by the other player.

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Speaking to Scotland Tonight before quitting the game, the 32-year-old said: “If someone feels like they want to come out and speak, it’s going to be in the back of their mind that it will affect their life in football.

“Unfortunately, there are always going to be managers, clubs or staff who look as that as a problem.”

Cox first spoke about his mental health issues in a newspaper interview seven years ago.

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David Cox in action for Cowdenbeath last year.

He revealed he had made attempts to end his life and, since then, has received horrific abuse on and off the pitch.

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“I heard a few things from the stand after I told my story,” he said. “I remember one of the shouts was to ‘do it properly this time’.

“I’m no angel on the park and I’ll say things, but when it comes to personal stuff there needs to be a line.”

The well-travelled striker has played for a number of Scottish clubs and believes some have refused to renew his contracts because of his health issues.

“Some clubs have been absolutely amazing with me, really good,” he said. “But I’ve also been at clubs where I’ve been pushed out because of my mental health.”

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David Cox celebrates scoring against Rangers in the Scottish Cup in 2019.

Scotland Tonight – on STV at 7.30pm on Thursday – will take a closer look at the darker side of the beautiful game, asking what’s being done to help players who are struggling to cope.

Last week, a charity told STV News that it had helped five players who considered ending their lives over the past year.

Libby Emerson, from BackOnSide, said: “The abuse players get if they talk about their mental health is wrong and it needs to change.”

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She said it was “hard” for the charity to gain access to players, adding: “A lot of clubs don’t realise there is a mental health issue going on.

“If a player broke his leg on a pitch, they’d get support in an instant and doctors to look after them.

“But when someone says their head’s a bit broken, it’s just ignored.”

One Scottish Premiership club told Scotland Tonight that football as a whole was getting better at dealing with mental health, but accepted that more needs to be done.

Allan Burrows, chief executive of Motherwell FC, who have experienced suicide among former players and fans, said: “I think we’ve made improvements, but we’ve got a lot of work still to do.

“We need to continue to talk about it and raise it as an issue. It needs to constantly be the message; you need to constantly push it all the time.

“We will continue to do that as a club. I hope other clubs will continue to do so as well and other sports and other outlets will continue to do it.

“And if we all do that, and we all try and take it more seriously, then hopefully we can stop this other pandemic that is going on in Scotland at the moment.”


Woman in critical condition after attempted murder bid

The 45-year-old was rushed to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary with life-threatening injuries.

Police Scotland
Critical: Woman in hospital after being struck by car.

A woman is in a critical condition in hospital after being hit by a car in an attempted murder bid. 

On Wednesday around 8.15pm, the 45-year-old was struck by a car on Whitesands, Dumfries. 

Emergency services attended and the woman was taken to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary with life-threatening injuries, where she remains in a critical condition.

A 26-year-old woman was also struck by the car but did not sustain any serious injuries.

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A 35-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and enquiries are ongoing.

Anyone with information or dash-cam footage that could assist the investigation is asked to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 3169 of May 12.


Painter and decorator caught with £2m of cocaine in van

Richard Eadie was caught with the drugs on the M74 near Abbington, Lanarkshire in 2019.

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Drugs haul: Cocaine worth £2m seized from van.

A painter and decorator was caught with £2m of high-purity cocaine after a motorway swoop by police.

Richard Eadie was caught with the drugs on November 15, 2019 on the M74 northbound near Abbington, Lanarkshire.

Prosecutor Lindsey Dalziel told how police were “suspicious” when they clocked boxes in the front of the hired Ford Transit van given the space in the back.

They had already received a tip-off that drugs were on board.

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Police went on to discover 20 taped blocks inside each holding 1kg of cocaine.

The drugs had a purity as high as 76% with a potential value of between £1.6m and £2m.

On Thursday, Eadie of Garthamlock, pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

His QC Thomas Ross told the hearing: “In terms of the value, he understands that prison is inevitable.”

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Eadie had been on bail, but, deferring sentencing for reports, judge Lady Stacey told him: “You will be remanded in custody.”

The case was adjourned until next month.


Appeal after man found seriously injured near busy road

The 56-year-old was discovered at around 5.45am on Thursday in Grangemouth

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Injured: Man rushed to hospital after being found near busy road.

A man is in a critical condition in hospital after being found seriously injured in Grangemouth.

The 56-year-old was found on Abbots Road at the junction with Newlands Road and Newhouse Road in the town at around 5.45am on Thursday. 

He was taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital where he is in a critical condition. 

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 5.45am on Thursday May 13, we received a report that a 56-year-old man had been found with injuries on Abbots Road at the junction with Newlands Road and Newhouse Road, in Grangemouth. 

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“He was taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital where he is described as being in a critical condition.

“Enquiries to establish the full circumstances are ongoing. Anyone who was walking or driving in the area and saw the man between 4pm yesterday and 5.45am this morning is asked to contact police with information on 101, quoting reference number 0417 of May 13.”


Voters go to the polls in Airdrie and Shotts by-election

Polling stations will open on Thursday for the North Lanarkshire seat to replace incumbent SNP MP Neil Gray.

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Vote: Public go to the polls.

Voters are going to the polls in a by-election to choose a new MP for the Airdrie and Shotts constituency.

Polling stations will open on Thursday morning in the North Lanarkshire seat in the race to replace incumbent SNP MP Neil Gray.

Gray stepped down to contest the same seat in the Scottish Parliament election, and became an MSP last week.

The two elections were not held on the same day due to concerns about coronavirus and the possibility of voter confusion because of the different ballot systems used in Westminster and Holyrood elections.

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Gray held the seat for the SNP in the 2019 general election, taking 45% of the vote, with Labour coming second on 32%. This gave the SNP a majority of 5201 votes.

Modern studies teacher Anum Qaisar-Javed is the SNP candidate, facing Labour councillor Kenneth Stevenson.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon campaigned in Airdrie and Shotts with Ms Qaisar-Javed on Wednesday, alongside the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar was also on the campaign trail on Wednesday with Mr Stevenson.

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The other candidates standing for the seat are Stephen Arrundale, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Ben Callaghan, Scottish Conservatives, Martyn Green, Reform UK, Donald Mackay, UKIP, Neil Manson, Social Democratic Party and Jonathan Stanley for the Scottish Unionist Party.


British Airways world’s first airline to trial new Covid test

The pilot scheme will see crew taking a Pelican Covid-19 antigen test from medical tech company Canary Global.

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Coronavirus: British Airways to pilot test which produces results in 25 seconds.

British Airways has announced it will be the world’s first airline to trial a coronavirus test which produces results within 25 seconds.

The pilot scheme will see flight and cabin crew taking a Pelican Covid-19 antigen test from medical tech company Canary Global.

Results will be compared against their standard test results.

British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said: “As we start to see the opening up of travel we remain committed to exploring easy and affordable testing solutions to help our customers travel again, whether it’s for business, to reunite with family and friends or take a much-needed break abroad.

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“We think this new ultra-rapid test is a game changer so we are delighted to work with the team at Canary to begin initial trials with our flight and cabin crew, before exploring what role it could play as a customer testing option.”


Police launch probe after Rangers fans set off pyrotechnics

Investigation under way after more than 200 Rangers supporters gather on hill to watch their team against Livingston.

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Rangers players and fans celebrate in Livingston on Wednesday night,

Police have condemned the behaviour of Rangers fans who set off pyrotechnics during Wednesday night’s match at Livingston.

An investigation has been launched after a group of 200 fans gathered to watch Steven Gerrard’s team from a hill just outside the ground in West Lothian.

Sergeant Jim Gowling said: “An investigation is under way after several pyrotechnics were let off during the Livingston v Rangers game. 

“The inquiry will involve officers reviewing extensive CCTV footage to identify those involved in this reckless and dangerous behaviour.” 

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Rangers’ quest for an invincible league campaign will go down to the final day of the season after Steven Gerrard’s champions cleared their penultimate hurdle at Livingston.

James Tavernier tucked home his 19th goal of the season from the penalty spot before Ryan Kent and Ianis Hagi sealed a 3-0 win at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Like the Light Blues’ last visit, the locked-out Rangers supporters launched a barrage of fireworks in the 55th minute to mark their heroes’ title triumph.

Earlier on Wednesday, justice secretary Humza Yousaf urged Rangers fans to celebrate at home this weekend, with the Ibrox club set to be presented with the Premiership trophy following their match against Aberdeen.

Police Scotland also warned against large gatherings after a fan group organised a title day march.

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Supporters plan to leave Ibrox once the trophy has been lifted and then make their way to George Square.

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