Scottish Labour demands public inquiry into safety at flagship hospitals

Scottish Labour has called for a public inquiry to be held following safety concerns at two of the country’s flagship hospitals.

Sunday, 8th September 2019, 4:50 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th September 2019, 5:50 pm
The hospital was due to open in early July but the move was cancelled at short notice after problems were found in the ventilation system.

In July, the opening of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh was delayed over safety fears, whilst several patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow contracted rare infections earlier this year.

An independent review into the QEUH was called after the deaths of two patients as a result of infections.

Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has failed to rebuild public confidence.

“Parents are starting to speak out about the harrowing experiences they have endured at the QEUH,” said Ms Lennon.

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“Children with cancer are extremely vulnerable and it’s worrying that families feel the Health Secretary is not taking their concerns seriously.

“Jeane Freeman has failed to rebuild confidence in the QEUH and provide the answers and safeguards the public needs.

“Scottish Labour is extremely concerned that children in Scotland are being let down by not one hospital scandal but two and it is a matter of public interest that Nicola Sturgeon agrees to a public inquiry into the QEUH and Sick Kids scandals without any further delay.

“In the case of the QEUH, the public must be told how many patients, including children and young people, have contracted infections in the hospital and when she addresses Parliament this week about the Sick Kids fiasco, the Health Secretary must also set out when children will finally get access to the hospital they were promised.”

Earlier this week, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton urged Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to hold a full public inquiry into delays at the new specialist children’s hospital in Edinburgh.

Speaking at the Scottish Parliament, the Lib Dem MSP said: “Serious questions are once again being asked about this Government’s ability to deliver major capital projects.

“Will the Health Secretary today instruct a full public inquiry into this fiasco?”

Ms Freeman rejected the call, saying: “No, I will not at this point.

“I have commissioned two reports, they are on track to be published next week, as Mr Cole-Hamilton well knows, and I will make a statement to Parliament at that point.”

When the reports are published, the Health Secretary said she would be able to answer more “detailed questions, including giving a clear timeline of when we expect the move to the new site”.

She added: “In all of that, my driving interest is patient safety.”