Scottish Hospitals Inquiry hearings postponed

By Andrew Picken
BBC Scotland News

  • Published
Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Little France, EdinburghImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Issues surrounding the opening of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh are being examined by a public inquiry

The next round of hearings in the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry have been postponed.

Oral evidence had been scheduled to be heard between October and December in the public inquiry investigating safety issues at two Scottish hospitals.

But the inquiry has postponed the sessions as it is still undertaking analysis of evidence gathered at previous hearings.

It is not clear at this stage when the hearings will be rescheduled.

An inquiry spokesman said the decision to postpone hearings now "was to ultimately hold robust ones when a fuller picture was formed of the various elements we are looking into" and a new timetable will be announced in due course.

The public inquiry is being chaired by Lord Brodie QC and is examining issues at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow, and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) and Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DCN) in Edinburgh.

The inquiry, which has cost £5.9m to date, will report back to Scottish ministers when it has concluded its findings.

A spokesman for the inquiry said: "Good progress, both engaging with and taking statements from possible witnesses, has been made and that vital process continues.

"At the same time, the inquiry is undertaking further analysis of evidence gathered so far, which has highlighted the complexity of the investigation.

"Lord Brodie recognises the importance core participants including patients and families attach to hearings.

"His decision to postpone hearings now was to ultimately hold robust ones when a fuller picture was formed of the various elements we are looking into."

Safety and wellbeing

The RHCYP in Edinburgh was due to open in July 2019 but was delayed after last-minute inspections found safety concerns over its ventilation systems.

The Scottish government then stepped in to prevent the hospital from opening just one day before it was due to accept patients.

The £840m QEUH campus in Glasgow opened in April 2015 and has faced a series of contamination incidents since then, linked to issues with water quality and ventilation systems.

An independent review into the hospital's design published its findings in June 2020.

The report found a "series of problems" with the design and build of the hospital, but no clear evidence to link those failures to any "avoidable deaths".