Holyrood urged to mount own investigation into infections at flagship hospital

Holyrood’s Health Committee is being urged to investigate claims that infections are spreading like in “Victorian times” at Scotland’s flagship hospital.

Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs wants MSPs on the committee to probe recent infections at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

It comes after a 10-year-old boy being treated at the £842 million hospital, which opened in 2015, died as a result of contracting the Crypococcus bug – which is linked to pigeon droppings – there.

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

A team from the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate is to visit the hospital while Ms Freeman has also ordered a review of the design, construction and maintenance of the flagship site.

Mr Briggs, though, said it was “imperative” that MSPs on the Health Committee “investigate this scandal as a matter of urgency”.

He added: “This is exactly what Holyrood committees were established to do and I intend to speak to other MSPs who sit on the Health Committee to find a way of making this happen.

“It’s bad enough that two people have lost their lives in such unacceptable circumstances.

“But in the weeks since the SNP government has been complacent and badly lacked transparency.

“The families involved will have questions that deserved to be answered, but so too will the patients, visitors and staff who use the hospital on a daily basis.”

Mr Briggs added: “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.”

He plans to raise the issue at a meeting of the Health Committee on Tuesday.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “As the Health Secretary set out to Parliament last week, an independent expert review will look at the hospital’s design, commissioning, construction, handover and maintenance, including how these matters support effective infection prevention and any other areas considered necessary by those carrying out the review.

“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.”