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Deaths linked to pigeon droppings spark probe at hospitals

MSPs will investigate the state of infection control at Scotland's medical facilities.

QEUH: Two deaths being investigated by Crown Office (file pic).
QEUH: Two deaths being investigated by Crown Office (file pic). HEMEDIA/SWNS

MSPs have launched a probe into healthcare facilities across Scotland following the deaths of two patients who contracted an infection connected to pigeon droppings at a hospital.

A ten-year-old boy died in December at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow after contracting the Cryptococcus infection.

A 73-year-old woman who had been infected with the bug died at the same hospital last month, with officials initially saying it was from an unrelated condition.

Both deaths are currently being investigated by the Crown Office.

The committee agreed to look into the matter and has now announced its investigation will be into "the scale of health problems linked to the healthcare environment in Scotland".

As part of its remit, the committee will explore what risks exist and how these should be reported and addressed.

It wants to hear the views of healthcare workers and others affected by these issues, with a formal evidence session to take place on March 19.

Lewis Macdonald MSP, the committee convener, said: "Like everyone across Scotland, I was deeply troubled by the nature of the deaths at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

"There are a number of ongoing investigations into what happened but this raises wider issues about the safety and control of healthcare environments in Scotland.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1435053-crown-to-probe-deaths-after-pigeon-droppings-infection/ | default

"The committee is determined to understand how standards are upheld and consider existing protocols in place.

"We are also going to look at the adequacy of systems and processes for reporting and controlling outbreaks when they do occur."

The infection was believed to be from pigeon droppings found in a plant room on the roof of the QEUH.

Investigations have been taking place to establish how the bacteria entered a closed ventilation system.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman has ordered a separate review of the design, build, handover and maintenance at the QEUH and how they contribute to "effective infection control".

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "As the health secretary has set out in parliament, an independent expert review will look at the hospital's design, commissioning, construction, handover and maintenance, including how these matters support effective infection prevention and any other areas considered necessary by those carrying out the review.

"The health secretary has also asked the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) to fully inspect and review this incident and to make any further recommendations they consider appropriate."

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