2020-Professor at the heart of hospital review

Professor at the heart of hospital independent review

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 11:27:00 BST
Professor Billy Hare
Professor Billy Hare

The University’s Professor Billy Hare has been praised for his part in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Independent Review.

Professor Hare, the BEAM Research Centre Deputy Director, received special thanks from the co-chairs of the review for his part in the investigation of the design, build, commission and maintenance of the buildings, in relation to infection incidents. 

Dr Andrew Fraser (Director of Public Health Science at NHS Health Scotland) and Dr Brian Montgomery (Independent Healthcare Consultant) were appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to co-chair the review. They were tasked with investigating concerns that the built environment at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) and Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) was compromising best practice in infection prevention and control, increasing the risk of Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI).

Professor Hare was appointed as the lead technical expert for building matters and played a substantial part in the development of four chapters in the review, covering design, build, commissioning and maintenance at the hospital. BEAM Centre research assistant, Dr Karen Munro, was also seconded to support the review of over 3000 documents of evidence. 

Dr Fraser and Dr Montgomery praised Professor Hare in the published report for his “technical knowledge, commitment to the review and for his humour throughout the review process. Without his contribution, this report would not have been possible”.

Professor Hare said: “Working on the review has been challenging but extremely rewarding.” 

The first phase of the review process considered issues of infection prevention and control at the hospital and the second phase examined the QEUH and RHC buildings with advice being provided by Professor Hare. He also accompanied the chairs on several tours of the hospital, including the helipad, where there was a fear that birds may have been contaminating the hospital ventilation system. 

The review’s findings were published on June 15 and concluded that, while there were numerous issues with the building, particularly regarding certain vulnerable groups, they had “not established a sound evidential basis for asserting that avoidable deaths have resulted from failures in the design, build, commissioning or maintenance of the QEUH and RHC”

The review also acknowledged that remedial works to the hospital had minimised risks to a tolerable level. Nevertheless, there were 63 recommendations. Three specific areas for research have also been identified in relation to supporting similar future projects:

•  Air quality in clinical environments

•  Water quality in clinical environments

•  Rare microorganisms and their clinical significance

The Terms of Reference for a further Public Inquiry into both the QEUH and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh was also announced last week. Professor Hare has been invited to be an advisor for the Public Inquiry, which should begin its work in August.

The review team was the first to follow the recommendations by GCU’s Professor Alison Britton, made in her own report on the process of Independent Reviews in Scotland, which has now become the benchmark for all reviews of this type.  

The BEAM research centre has also recently partnered the School of Health and Life Sciences’ Safeguarding Health through Infection Prevention (SHIP) research group, led by Professor Jacqui Reilly, in response to a proposed new National Centre for Reducing Risk in the Healthcare Built Environment, currently being set up by NHS Scotland with a research remit.