Holyrood inquiry call over superhospital infections

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The £842m hospital opened in 2015

Holyrood’s health committee has been urged to hold its own inquiry into the spread of infections at Glasgow’s flagship hospital.

An infection linked to pigeon droppings was a contributory factor in the death of a child at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has also revealed a patient is seriously ill with a different fungal infection.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs wants MSPs to investigate.

NHS Greater Glasgow revealed earlier this month that two patients who had died at the hospital were found to have a cryptococcus fungal infection, linked to pigeon droppings.

‘Victorian times’

It later emerged that one of the patients was a 10-year-old boy, and the infection was a “contributory factor” in his death.

On Sunday, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed another patient at the hospital was seriously ill after contracting a separate fungal infection called mucor.

She has ordered a team of healthcare inspectors to visit the hospital.

The Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs claimed infections were spreading in a way normally associated with “Victorian times” at the £842m hospital.

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Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has asked the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate to visit the hospital

He also claimed there had been complacency and a “lack of transparency” in the way the problems had been handled.

He said: “The new Queen Elizabeth was supposed to be a flagship hospital offering the very best care in a safe, clean environment.

“Instead, infections have been allowed to spread in a way you would associate with the Victorian times.

“It’s not good enough and Holyrood needs to find out why this happened, and how best to ensure it’s never repeated.”

Healthcare Inspectorate

The fungal infection which contributed to the child’s death is believed to have come from pigeon droppings found in a plant room on the hospital’s roof.

Investigations continue to establish how it entered a closed ventilation system.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has said the likely source of the Mucor infection is a water leak in a single patient room in the hospital, which has been repaired.

Ms Freeman has ordered a review of the design, construction and maintenance of the flagship site.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “The health secretary has also asked the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate to fully inspect and review this incident and to make any further recommendations they consider appropriate.

“Any committee activity is, of course, a matter for the Scottish Parliament’s health and sport committee to determine.

“The Scottish government and the NHS will always engage positively with the health committee on any matters they consider.”