An inquiry will begin hearing evidence on Monday into problems at two flagship Scottish hospitals that contributed to the death of two children.
The Scottish Hospitals Inquiry is investigating the construction of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus in Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh.
The inquiry was ordered after patients at the Glasgow site died from infections linked to pigeon droppings and the water supply, and the opening of the Edinburgh site was delayed due to concerns over the ventilation system.
Earlier this year, an independent review found the death of two children at the QEUH were at least in part the result of infections linked to the hospital environment.
The review investigated 118 episodes of serious bacterial infection in 84 children and young people who received treatment for blood disease, cancer or related conditions at the Royal Hospital for Children at the campus.
It found a third of these infections were “most likely” to have been linked to the hospital environment.
Two of 22 deaths were, “at least in part”, the result of their infection, it said.
Kimberly Darroch, the mother of 10-year-old Milly Main who died in the QEUH in 2017 after contracting an infection, has led calls for further investigation into issues at the hospital.
The opening of the Edinburgh children’s hospital – due to take place in 2019 – had to be delayed after the Scottish Government was alerted to safety issues there shortly before it was due to start receiving patients.
It finally opened in March of this year.
The inquiry will aim to determine how issues at the two hospitals relating to ventilation, water contamination and other matters impacted on patient safety and care and whether this could have been prevented.
It will begin hearing from affected patients and families on Monday.
Lord Brodie, who will chair the inquiry, said: “No other group has been more affected by these issues than the patients and families from whom we will be hearing in the next few weeks.
“Their experiences will help inform future lines of investigation as we turn our attention to subsequent phases of the inquiry.
“This first diet of hearings is the culmination of a year of preparation, providing us with a foundation to ensure that the inquiry is led by the evidence it uncovers during the course of its lifetime.
“Ultimately, our role is to understand what went wrong with the construction of these hospitals so lessons can be learned to prevent the recurrence of such issues in the future.”
The hearings will take place at offices near Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Square and will be streamed online.
They will run for three weeks before a two-week break. They will resume on October 25 for a further two weeks.