Professor Brenda Gibson, a consultant pediatric haematologist, gave testimony on Monday to the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry, which is investigating a range of contamination issues at Glasgow’s £840million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
Scottish ministers announced the inquest following deaths linked to hospital infections, including that of 10-year-old Millie Main, who was being treated for cancer at Children’s Hospital on the same campus.
The inquiry is also examining issues that have caused the delay in the opening of Edinburgh’s new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People.
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Professor Gibson told Alister Duncan KC, the lead counsel for the investigation, that she didn’t sign the plans because they didn’t get the promised hospital.
The professor, who heads Schiehallion’s children’s cancer unit, told the £11million inquiry that the responsibility for providing a safe environment for patients rests with the public health department.
The unit was based at Yorkhill in the city and plans were made for their relocation. Prof Gibson said there had been “very limited consultation”.
“All I remember was that we had a choice, there was a floor plan and that was to be our space and we weren’t supposed to have more space than that,” the research said.
“We could do anything related to this space, but if it didn’t suit our needs, it couldn’t be expanded. So we needed to make the best use of this space and decided to maximize the number of patient cubicles.”
That meant the new hospital, she told the inquiry, had to “sacrifice” much of what was in place in the old department to get patients fit, to avoid sending them to other wards and as a result Office space is lost, parents’ accommodation, a staff room, a seminar room and pharmacy accommodation.
“I, as the lead actor, was asked to sign off on the plan, but I didn’t do it. Well, I didn’t do it to the best of my knowledge. I definitely stuck it out for a really long time,” she said.
“I think it was signed by a senior nurse, a senior nurse. That is my understanding.”
And the investigation found: “We had been promised a comparable unit in a flagship hospital and it certainly wasn’t a comparable unit.”
Contamination issues have been linked to water quality and ventilation systems at the super hospital, which opened in April 2015.
Prof Gibson said at the hearing, which is being overseen by Inquiry Chair Lord Brodie, that it had nothing to do with ventilation or water systems and that these were “solely in deciding how we were going to divide the space”.
During the hearing, Prof Gibson said it was the physicians’ view that they “have a responsibility to provide chemotherapy or other forms of care within the framework of national or international protocols or guidelines and must do so in a holistic manner with a well-trained workforce.” “. .
She added: “We believe the responsibility for providing a safe environment for the delivery of this treatment rests with the Health Committee, led by the Chief Executive.”
“The responsibility for deciding whether a place is safe or not lies with infection control.”
According to the investigation report, when they entered the hospital, there were sewage leaks, problems with the paneling and windows falling out.
The investigation also found that there were problems with the temperature, blinds, non-working televisions and also problems with the odor from a nearby sewage treatment plant.
Prof Gibson is the Senior Clinician for the Hematology and Oncology Service at the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow.
The investigation continues.