News

High-ranking judge heads Multiplex hospitals inquiry

2 December 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) in Edinburgh

Lord Brodie, a high-ranking Scottish judge, has been appointed to oversee a public inquiry into “issues” at hospitals in Edinburgh and Glasgow, both of which were built by Multiplex.

The inquiry, announced in September this year by the Scottish government, will examine what caused problems on the delayed £150m Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) in Edinburgh, originally supposed to open in 2017 but now not due to open until autumn 2020, and the £824m Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow, which opened in 2015.

Lord Brodie, who is a serving Court of Session judge, has been appointed by health secretary Jeane Freeman.

He will oversee proceedings, which aim to determine how “vital issues relating to ventilation and other key building systems” occurred and what steps can be taken to prevent problems being repeated in future projects.

Freeman said: “I announced this independent public inquiry following concerns, including from parents and families, over the quality of our NHS major infrastructure, its safety and compliance with standards and the impact that has on the delivery of healthcare to patients.

“This is crucial work and I am pleased that a person of Lord Brodie’s stature and legal standing will lead this important inquiry.

“This inquiry and its recommendations will help us learn lessons from recent issues so they are not repeated in the future.” 

Further details about the inquiry are expected to be released next year.

When the inquiry was announced in September, Multiplex said: "We welcome the announcement of the public inquiry and will provide our full support to help the investigation get to the facts of what has happened in relation to both construction projects.

"In light of the public inquiry, we will not be making any further comment at this time."

Comments

Just my 2c worth. Typically today engineers and designers tend to be employed on their ability to use a particular CAD system and less so on whether or not they are skilled engineers. I tend to also think that engineers are not encouraged to speak out on contracts when they may find anomalies in client specifications.
Engineers of my generation had complete focus on design and were encouraged to speak out where conflict of spec was identified. In my opinion, BIM was supposed to minimize those sorts of issues but again this has spiraled out of control and engineers now are typically bogged down in procedures and admin tasks that only serve to detract from the business of achieving good design.
I should note this is a general opinion and may not be specific to these particular contracts.

H.Thomson, 2 December 2019

I also believe that the Procurement Process with such projects does not help create "linked up design". On D&B procurement the integration of information is passed to the contractor, rather than it was in the "good old days" when the architect, the healthcare planner and the technical team worked through months of workshops creating designs that had been thoroughly considered.

I also agree with Mr. H Thomson that more standards in employment should be on the skill of coordinating design rather than "banging out a bit" package that in fact is probably less coordinated than the good old days of face to face workshops. (again my personal opinion)

N. Eckersall, 4 December 2019

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