Professor Derek Bell OBE, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, has called the report into the safety and cleanliness of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) a missed opportunity for failing to engage with the wider clinical community.

The report, conducted by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), said that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) must strengthen the governance around infection prevention and control.

However, given the notable failures of governance identified at the QEUH, the College has criticised the lack of engagement with doctors and other NHS staff by HIS and the Scottish Government.  

As well as representing the clinical community, the College has in the last year established the neutral and independent Quality Governance Collaborative, a work stream it believes will help to improve standards of governance in healthcare, and improve the quality of patient care in hospitals.

Commenting Professor Derek Bell OBE said:

While we welcome the publication of the report, we feel that this is an opportunity missed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Scottish Government. As the body representing hospital doctors, we are keen to support the development of sustainable solutions in relationship to governance and improvement. 

For example, the report highlights several areas of concern around governance arrangements within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has taken the lead on this subject across the UK, and its Quality Governance Collaborative programme has now been running for over a year. This programme has brought together many of the leaders in healthcare governance from across the UK and Europe, and is currently running its first professional qualification in healthcare governance.

Having such a centre of excellence on our doorstep in Scotland is a huge potential asset to NHSScotland, and one which should be utilised. The neutrality of the College and the Quality Governance Collaborative also puts it in a unique position to act as a critical friend and expert adviser to NHS boards, the Scottish Government, and Integration Joint Boards.

Governance in healthcare is an area of growing importance, as the links between effective governance structures and patient care become more established. The College is hosting its first annual Quality Governance Conference in May this year, where Scottish, UK and international experts, including the World Health Organisation, will come together to identify ways in which failures of governance – such as have been seen recently in NHSScotland and highlighted in this report – can be prevented.


Paul Gillen

Contact: Paul Gillen 0131 247 3658