Secretary reflects on setting up the Inquiry

Date 26th April 2022

The Scottish Hospitals Inquiry was announced in September 2019 in response to concerns from parents and patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow and the delays to opening the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP/DCN) in Edinburgh.

In particular, the Inquiry was set up to find out how the issues relating to ventilation, water and other building systems happened and what steps can be taken to prevent them being repeated in future projects.

The Inquiry officially began its work in August 2020 with the Chair, Lord Brodie, then announcing that he would hear first the experiences of affected patients and families. Forty-four statements were taken and of these 32 gave testimony in person at the hearing beginning in September 2021. All the statements, and transcripts are available on our website. Videos of testimony can be found on our YouTube channel.

Relating and listening to the patients’ and families’ experiences was often difficult due to their nature. The inquiry adopted a trauma-informed approach by putting in place physical measures as well as training and support to both those giving evidence in person and Inquiry staff involved in the hearings.

Even before the official launch in August 2020 the inquiry team was working hard during the Covid lockdown and subsequent restrictions in setting up the inquiry. This included locating, leasing and fitting out a suitable and safe environment to hear evidence. An early decision was to ensure that the facilities provided the means to hear evidence even when all participants are not in the same room. This flexibility ensured both resilience and continuity of hearings.

As well as continuing to work on investigations into the issues at the QEUH, the inquiry team is making final preparations for a hearing starting on Monday 9 May, where we will hear from experts about the role of ventilation in a hospital setting and witnesses on the background to the RHCYP/DCN project.

The 9 May hearing will run for two weeks, Monday to Friday, and anyone can follow either livestreamed on YouTube or in person. There is limited seating in the hearing room, so a place will need to be booked through our online booking system.