The culture within the NHS should be investigated as part of a public inquiry starting on Monday, the Health Secretary has said.
The probe, which is due to start on Monday, will focus on issues at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Young People in Edinburgh – which saw the opening of the facility delayed just days before it was due to open last year.
But Jeane Freeman suggested she would like to see it look further afield, particularly at the culture within the health service, and listen to the expertise of staff members.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Ms Freeman said: “I think I’m on record many times as saying that I think that the culture in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and other parts of the health service need to be seriously looked at.”
She added: “I’m looking across, with colleagues from the royal colleges, from the unions and others, at the whole cultural issues across our health service because – if we are to really deliver safe, effective, person-centred care to our patients – our staff themselves need to feel, not just be told, that their views and opinions are valued and listened to.
“Clearly there have been issues where that’s not the case.”
Concerns were brought to light over possible water contamination in the QEUH and the risk of infections last year, with a report published in June saying that cancer patients were put at a higher risk of infection due to the design and maintenance of the building.
However, no avoidable deaths were said to have taken place, according to the review.
On Sunday, the mother of a 10-year-old girl who died at the QEUH after contracting an infection said the inquiry must provide answers for families.
Kimberly Darroch believes that her daughter, Milly Main, died because of contaminated water at the £842 million hospital.
She said: “Having been let down by the health board, we hope the public inquiry will uncover the truth about what happened at the hospital – not just for us but for all the families affected, and to ensure no other family ever has to go through what we went through.”
The Health Secretary said the families of those affected by problems at the QEUH will get the answers they seek from the inquiry, chaired by Lord Brodie, and an independent case review.
She said: “The point about the independent case review is that families will be directly involved in looking with the independent reviewers themselves, experts in oncology and epidemiology and infection prevention and control from outwith Scotland.
“Families will be involved individually, looking at their own cases with those experts asking the questions and getting, I hope, all the answers that they need.”