Research is at the heart of investigative success

Date 13th February 2023

“What happened?” – This is one of the many questions that the Inquiry’s research team is trying to answer as part of our investigations into the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Edinburgh.

Two senior researchers lead the team’s work, one on each of the hospitals. The team’s main objective is to research the issues listed in the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference. They work closely with the legal team, who set the overall direction of the investigation. The Research team assesses and analyses evidence requested and received from core participants and other relevant providers of documents (PoDs) involved in the various stages of the hospitals’ lifetime.

In collaboration with the legal team, the researchers prepare draft narratives and papers and help with identifying questions to ask witnesses before the legal team begins the process of statement taking.

In addition to the legal team, the researchers work closely with the documents team to help them find relevant documentary evidence for their research and to request further information from PoDs when needed.

Initial drafts of research papers are submitted to Counsel and to the Chair of the Inquiry, Lord Brodie. They will consider the content and give further direction on pursuing more details or clarifying issues. Further drafts are written, and to ensure the team have understood the evidence as well as fill in gaps, they go back to PoDs who in most cases are core participants to verify that the series of events and the people involved have been accurately and fairly represented. Core Participants will sometimes have their own views that differ from those of the Inquiry and/or other Core Participants. Researchers will work together with Counsel to prepare final drafts of papers. An oral hearing will be the culmination of this work where people involved are asked to fill in the gaps in the Inquiry’s understanding.

One of the main reasons for holding a public inquiry is to uncover as much information as possible about what happened. The research team is committed to their part in uncovering the full extent of the events that led to setting up the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry.