Updates from the Inquiry

Date 14th July 2023

The Inquiry has today confirmed to Core Participants the arrangements for closing statements for the hearing held in June 2023 dealing with matters around the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH). Alastair Duncan KC and Victoria Arnott will provide their closing statement in line with the timetable set out by Lord Brodie at the close of the hearing. Counsel’s closing statement will be provided for circulation to legal representatives of core participants by 21 July, and be posted to the Inquiry website shortly afterwards. There will then be a period of two weeks for core participants to exchange their own draft concluding statements before submitting finalised statements to the Inquiry by 18 August. Transcripts of the testimony of all witnesses in June 2023 are available on the Inquiry website.

Counsel are being recruited to carry on the investigative plan that builds upon the recently completed hearings in order to fulfil the terms of reference in respect of the QEUH. The investigative plan for the QEUH was set out in March 2023. That investigative plan remains in place and the Inquiry team are working hard to complete the necessary investigations as quickly as possible in order to hold hearings in 2024. 

The Provisional Position Paper on the History of Infection Concern was circulated in May, and both it and comments by Core Participants are on the website. Separate Provisional Position Papers on the water and ventilation systems are being prepared and will be circulated in due course. Experts in the fields of microbiology, water, ventilation and epidemiology have been instructed to support this work. At the same time, the Inquiry team is being restructured and strengthened to press this work forward.  This work will form the basis of the hearings in 2024 on the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and details on a hearings schedule will be shared in due course.

Meanwhile the Edinburgh counsel team continue preparations for a hearing that will cover the decisions of the then Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, to delay the opening of the hospital in July 2019 and to subsequently open it fully in March 2021. Planned to take place in the first quarter 2024, dates for the hearing will be confirmed shortly. In preparation for that, four further Provisional Position Papers will be circulated in the coming weeks. Copies of the closing statements from the hearing held in April 2023 are now available on the Inquiry website.