Prosecutors consider Glasgow HSE hospital infection report

By Democrat reporter

Prosecutors have received a report from the Health and Safety Executive into poisonous pigeon droppings connected to an infection outbreak at the the £842 million “showpiece” Queen Elizabeth University Hospital which serves West Dunbartonshire and Glasgow.

A 10-year-old boy and a 73-year-old woman died after contracting the Cryptococcus infection, linked to pigeon droppings.

They were being treated at the hospital in December 2018 and January 2019.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the building and ventilation systems at the hospital.

In December last year, it issued an Improvement Notice for ventilation in one ward and has also issued a Notification of Contravention to Greater Glasgow Health Board.

The findings have been passed to the Crown Office in Edinburgh as part its ongoing investigation into the deaths.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it has appealed the improvement notice but a date for the appeal – which was paused by the pandemic – has yet to be confirmed.

Gail Armstrong, 73, from Glasgow, had been treated for blood cancer in Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital before she died in January last year.

In the weeks before her death, she had contracted a Cryptococcus infection.

Cryptococcus is widely present in the environment but can be lethal to patients with compromised immune systems.

Pigeon excrement at a plant room on the 12th floor in the hospital was at first thought to be the “likely source”.

The health board later ruled out the plant room and an independent review said there was “not a sound evidential basis” on which to make a link between the Cryptococcus neoformans infections and the presence of pigeon excrement at the hospital.

Gail Armstriong
Gail Armstrong died in January 2019 after being treated at the hospital

Ms Armstrong died just weeks after the infection had been a “contributory factor” in the death of the 10-year-old boy at the hospital campus.

Her daughter Beth told the BBC’s Disclosure programme The Secrets of Scotland’s Superhospital that the family had now lost trust that Glasgow’s health board would be honest and open about the cause of her death.

The family maintain that the infection was contracted in the hospital and that, although she was terminally ill with lymphoma, it hastened her death because she was unable to get the treatment she needed.

The death of Ms Armstrong and the boy, who was never identified, prompted a series of investigations into the design and build of the hospital.

‘Thoroughly investigated’

A Crown Office spokesman said: “The Crown‎ Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is committed to ensuring that the facts and circumstances surrounding the deaths of a 10-year-old boy and a 73-year-old woman at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in December 2018 and January 2019 respectively are thoroughly investigated by the relevant agencies, fully considered by COPFS and, in due course, aired in an appropriate legal forum.

The nearest relatives will continue to be kept updated in relation to any significant developments.”

An HSE spokesperson said: “HSE has now completed its investigation into the Cryptococcus outbreak at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

“We will continue to work with Greater Glasgow Health Board over the matters we have identified as requiring improvement, and are supporting the forthcoming public inquiry.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it had been working with the HSE as part of its “ongoing commitment to providing a safe environment for our patients and staff”.

One comment

  1. Bill….legal compliance issues have shaped the UK/Scottish responses to covid19. You know how it is with the public having a free for all on a lawless planet…until the Sheriff sends the bill.

    How about you interview a legal eagle viz legal compliance issues affecting NHS Drs, nurses and staff their actions and omissions and intromissions or relations with the public. I’ve been on this joke box 3+ years now. 90+% of social media is a licence to BS the public. I have a National Cert in Occupational Safety and Health. It would do to explain how the HSE is the authority that’s responsible for the implementation of the HASWA 1974 and the science that has legal status.

    The public are sourcing info from all over the planet that’s outside of their jurisdiction and not legally valid for them and where they live. Another thing I’ve noticed, many start with the “straw man” that science is everywhere. A quick search on the joke box and they find other items to dispute that. It’s a joke. The world is full of scientific liars and it’s often true the science has just not been done yet. That is what the Precautionary Principle is for. When there’s a lack of evidence you still have your reason, skills and experience to rely on. That will do so long as you are not putting a man on the moon. Then there is the hair splitting contingent, attention seekers and the drama queens and amateur night theatricals. It’s a joke. Over nothing much these liberals form a lynch mob and start squealing about their civil liberties, freedom, democracy and human rights. It’s “mask hysteria.” They are making it a “constitutional issue.” Nuts! There is zero political mileage in all of these tantrums and toys out of the pram.

    A lot of this time wasting would have been avoided if the public had been referred to the body responsible for health and safety in workplaces since 1974. I don’t know what people are on about. The Tories represent the upper echelons of the ruling class. They are out and out capitalists. They have made an arse of everything for the last 500 years. They’ve cost millions of lives on a good day and never mind covid19. There’s no news here. It’s a mess and it’s been a mess for a long time.

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