Holyrood to investigate healthcare environments following Queen Elizabeth hospital deaths

The Scottish Parliament’s health and sport committee has started an inquiry to identify the scale of health problems linked to the healthcare environment in Scotland.

The inquiry comes in the wake of the deaths of two patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow last month, following which the Scottish Government has announced an independent external review into the construction, design and maintenance of the facility.


A non-public room, thought to contain machinery, was identified as a likely source of a cryptococcal fungal infection which is linked to pigeon droppings. Health secretary Jeane Freeman said traces of excrement had been found in the room, where there was a small break in the wall which was “invisible to the naked eye”.

The committee’s inquiry will have a wider focus looking at healthcare environments across Scotland, exploring what risks exist and how these should be reported and addressed.

Lewis Macdonald MSP, convener of the health and sport committee, said: “Like everyone across Scotland, I was deeply troubled by the nature of the deaths at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. There are a number of ongoing investigations into what happened, but this raises wider issues about the safety and control of healthcare environments in Scotland.

“The committee is determined to understand how standards are upheld and consider existing protocols in place. We are also going to look at the adequacy of systems and processes for reporting and controlling outbreaks when they do occur. This is why we want to hear from healthcare professionals from across Scotland.”

The committee is keen to hear the views of healthcare workers, and those affected by these issues, which will help guide a formal session with relevant healthcare organisations on the 19th of March.

Questions include:

  • What is the scale of health problems acquired from the healthcare environment in Scotland?
  • What/where are the main risks?
  • Are the current systems and processes in Scotland adequate for monitoring, reporting, eliminating or controlling these hazards?

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