Update from the Inquiry on hearings
The Scottish Hospitals Inquiry continues to make solid progress with its investigations into both hospitals.
Evidence heard from witnesses at hearings on the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People/Department of Clinical Neurosciences (RHCYP/DCN) in Edinburgh in May 2022 is informing work preparing for the next hearing which will consider the procurement process of the hospital.
The experiences of the patients and families given to the inquiry in September to November last year provided a wealth of information which has informed our investigations since then. We heard evidence from 32 witnesses, and are now working with staff at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC) taking statements from possible witnesses. These witnesses will be heard at the next hearing on the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus (QEUH).
At the procedural hearing in February 2022, Lord Brodie, Chair of the Inquiry, commented that he hoped to hold those hearings later in 2022. Sharing such forward plans with core participants to the inquiry is normal and helps them plan their work in assisting the inquiry with its investigations.
Whilst good progress has been and continues to be made in respect of both hospitals, there is still a great deal of information to be collected and analysed in light of engagement with potential witnesses and core participants.
The wide remit of the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry means there are many lines of questioning to be pursued in what is a complex investigation. This requires further analysis.
Lord Brodie recognises the importance core participants, especially patients and families, attach to hearings. In light of current progress and his firm view that a topic is dealt with comprehensively at a single hearing, he decided to postpone both hearings.
Legal representatives of the core participants were informed of his decision in June. This communication made clear that the pace of the work of the inquiry is being maintained, especially the taking of witness statements. This requires the continuing cooperation of the core participants.
Hearings are one very visible aspect of a public inquiry. They are not the only one; and as the inquiry progresses, working papers setting out that progress will be posted on the inquiry website.
Lord Brodie is determined that the postponement to hearings will be as short as possible and an announcement on the dates of the hearings will be made in due course.