The Independent Review

The Review has been set up to address concerns about patient safety at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) and Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) in Glasgow. Since opening in 2015 it has experienced some problems with rare microorganisms. A small number of patients have contracted severe infections caused by rare organisms and a number of rare microbiological contaminants with the potential to cause serious infections have also been identified.

The Review was announced in Parliament by Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, on 26 February 2019. The co-Chairs were announced in early March 2019.

The Review is looking at the QEUH/RHC buildings’ design, commissioning and construction, handover and ongoing maintenance and how these matters contribute to effective infection control. Any unrelated aspects of the design, commissioning and construction, handover and maintenance to infection control are not being considered by the Review.

Dr Andrew Fraser and Dr Brian Montgomery have been appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to co-chair the Review. Biographies of the co-Chairs are on the Review website.

The Review has specifically been tasked to undertake a clinically-focussed review which examines the built environment. Billy Hare, Professor of Construction Management and Deputy Director of the BEAM Research Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University, will provide expert advice to the Review. He will also source additional specialist advice, where appropriate, on specific construction matters.

It means that the Review is completely independent of outside influences and is able to carry out its task in an unbiased way. In this instance, the Review is independent of Scottish Ministers, the Scottish Government as well as NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board.

Dr Fraser and Dr Montgomery are keenly aware that independence is a central and necessary feature of the Review. They have worked with NHS Scotland but neither of them have worked directly for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. They have both previously been involved in reviews of NHS systems which required them to make independent findings. Prior to appointment both Dr Fraser and Dr Montgomery completed Declarations of Interest. An assessment of these declarations determined that the interests disclosed by Dr Fraser and Dr Montgomery did not disqualify them from assuming their co-Chair roles. In the interests of transparency, these Declarations of Interest will published on the Review’s website.

The Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference are on the Review’s website.

They are broad in certain respects because it is important to consider a range of possible factors in answering the remit set by the Cabinet Secretary. On the other hand, the Review focusses on certain aspects of the built environment, standards and practice, the circumstances of the building’s construction and use, and not on others.

The work of the Review

No. The Review is only focussing on the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) and Royal Hospital for Children (RHC). The Review is not looking at other buildings on the campus, including the retained estate that predates the QEUH/RHC.

No. The Review is not looking at the clinical management of individual patients or specific groups of patients. It would be inappropriate for the review to investigate a death. An investigation into deaths is undertaken by statutory bodies such as the Health Board and the Crown Office.

The Review invited people to come forward with evidence on 27 June 2019. It also invited feedback on its preliminary Terms of Reference. In parallel, the Review will gather and assess all documents and information relevant to its remit. Once feedback has been gathered, the Review will update and finalise its Terms of Reference. The Review will then arrange to meet specific individuals and take more detailed statements from them. By Spring 2020 the Review hopes to have made a preliminary report. The Review will then carry out further investigation before writing and publishing its report.

The co-Chairs will write a report which may make recommendations to Scottish Ministers relating to infection control at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. The report will be publicly available.

The co-Chairs are committed to delivering a thorough Review within a timeframe that is meaningful for patients, stakeholders, staff and the wider public. At the outset, that timeframe cannot be precisely defined because it is not clear how far the issues with the building extend. At this stage we also don’t know what other issues might arise when we start to gather documents and speak to people who come forward to give evidence. The co-Chairs are therefore keen to retain flexibility of timeframe, whilst fully understanding that if there are valuable lessons to be learned from the QEUH experience for the wider NHS Scotland Estate. The sooner those lessons are available the better. The Review will provide transparent and regular updates on progress. If significant findings emerge, these will be reported promptly.

Independent reviews are non-statutory inquisitorial processes. Their procedure and conduct are matters for the co-Chairs to decide. The co-Chairs are charged with carrying out the Review within its Terms of Reference. They are inquisitorial, not adversarial in nature. This means that everyone taking part in the Review does so for the benefit of the Review; the conduct of the review aims to establish facts and take views,; it does not invite arguments for and against a particular position or proof. This is similar to public inquiries, although statutory public inquiries can compel people and organisations to provide evidence.

No. The Review will accept written evidence and will take statements from some people; this will be conducted privately.

Contacting the Review

Yes, you can participate in the Review. There are various communication channels that enable people to get involved. These are on the website, and there is a postal route as well.

No, you do not need to be invited.

The Review will accept anonymous evidence.

The Review has published a Privacy Notice on its website detailing its approach to handling data.

The Review will publish a newsletter around every six weeks. This will give an update on progress of its work. If you would like to be sent a copy of the newsletter, please provide your email or postal address to the Review. The newsletter will also be published using Twitter.

A witness is someone who has evidence relating to the matters being investigated by the Review, as set out in the Terms of Reference. This could be as a witness to an event or through the records they hold, such as videos, photographs or documentation. Witnesses may be called to give evidence in the form of a written or oral statement and may also be invited to a meeting with the co-Chairs to give their evidence/a statement.

The co-Chairs and the Review team will identify and call witnesses to give statements/evidence.

The co-Chairs encourage anyone who holds relevant information or documents to provide them to the Review.

No. The Review will instead publish a newsletter every six weeks with updates on the progress of its work.

The Review is not subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 but will endeavour to conduct its proceedings in an open and transparent manner. As part of this, as much information as possible regarding the Review’s activities will be published on this website.

Making a complaint

You can make a complaint directly to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The number to call is 0141 201 4500. Further details are in the link below:


To make a complaint about the Review please call 0141 242 0391 to discuss your complaint with a senior manager of the Review Team. The Review team manager will make every effort to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible. If further investigation is needed you will receive a full reply to your complaint within 10 working days. If you are unhappy with the reply to your complaint, you can then write directly to the co-Chairs of the Review at:

Complaint for co-Chairs,
QEUH Independent Review,
PO Box 27152,
G2 9LX.

The co-Chairs will reply to you directly, and within ten working days of receiving your letter.

The cost of the Review

The co-Chairs are both committed to ensuring there is no unnecessary cost. The newly built elements of QEUH cost around £842m. The Review aims to restore public confidence in the hospital at a comparatively low cost.

Yes. Given the level of public concern about the hospital and specific events that have occurred since its opening, the size of the population that relies on the Hospital for its healthcare, the size of the workforce that it employs, and the amount of investment in the hospital, is it right to assess these concerns independently.

Other reviews and investigations

Healthcare Environment Inspectorate and Health Protection Scotland have reviewed the water quality and ventilation systems.

The Health and Safety Executive is examining health and safety aspects of the hospital.

The Crown Office is considering the deaths of a small number of people. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is carrying out its own internal audits and investigations into the hospital.

It should be noted that the Review will not look at the issues relating to the concerns at QEUH/RHC which have already been addressed and implemented, or are going to be addressed by these bodies.