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Scottish Public Inquiry Staff Support

1 What is the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry About?

This is a statutory public inquiry set up under the Inquiries Act 2005 to investigate the construction of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus, Glasgow, and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Edinburgh, following concerns about patient safety and wellbeing, in order to determine whether issues relating to ventilation, water and other key building systems gave rise to those concerns, how they occurred and what steps could be taken to prevent such issues arising in future projects.

2. What is the Inquiry looking into?

The remit sets out that the Inquiry is to report on certain questions and to make recommendations to ensure that any past mistakes are not repeated in future NHS infrastructure projects.

The Terms of Reference of the Inquiry specify its remit and the issues it will be examining in more detail.

3. Who is conducting the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry?

Lord Brodie, who is the Chair of the Inquiry, is responsible for the direction and manner of the Inquiry. He acts in an independent capacity. A Public Inquiry is inquisitorial in nature, not adversarial, so the Chair performs more of an examining role than a judge would in court proceedings.

4. What is a Public Inquiry?

A Public Inquiry is a formal, independent review relating to particular events which have caused or have potential to cause public concern, or where there is public concern that particular events may have occurred. The aim of a Public Inquiry is to help to restore public confidence in systems or services by investigating the facts through consideration of documentary and witness evidence, to determine what happened and help prevent recurrence.

5. What is the outcome of a Public Inquiry?

The outcome of a Public Inquiry is the production by the Chair, with input from the Inquiry Team, of a report which details key findings of fact and makes recommendations for the future. The Chair cannot make any findings of civil or criminal liability, nor can he award any compensation.

6. Is the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry directed at my actions?

It is the role of the Inquiry Team to gather evidence from varied sources, including witness evidence from individuals with knowledge of the relevant circumstances. You may be asked to provide a witness statement to assist the Inquiry Team with its investigations (see 14. below). However, the findings and recommendations detailed in the Chair’s report will be directed towards NHS GGC and not at particular individuals.

7. What is the format of the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry?

A Public Inquiry is made up of ten stages, which are set out here: Order of Events | Hospitals Inquiry.

The principal sources of evidence will be written statements submitted to the Inquiry by witnesses and documents recovered during the course of investigations by the Inquiry Team, as supplemented by oral evidence where the Chair considers that necessary.

8. When are the Inquiry Hearings being held?

The first formal hearing of the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry was held on 22 June 2021 remotely, in line with COVID-19 restrictions. This was a short hearing where Lord Brodie set out arrangements for the hearings commencing in September.

The first diet of oral hearings was then conducted over the course of five weeks, between 20 September and 5 November.

The next diet of hearings is due to take place in May 2022, where the Inquiry will focus primarily on the theory and practice of ventilation and matters relating to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh.

It is anticipated that further oral hearings relating to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children will commence no earlier than Autumn/Winter 2022. The timetable has not yet been fixed for these hearings and the Inquiry team has not yet confirmed what the focus of those hearings will be.

9. Where are the Inquiry Hearings held?

The Inquiry premises are at: 20 West Register Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AA. A map of the venue location can be found here: 20 W Register St – Google Maps.

Just off St Andrew Square, the venue is close to Waverley train station, Edinburgh bus station and has good tram links. No car parking is available at the venue.

The venue has been prepared for the hearings with ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and safety measures in place.

10. Are the hearings public?

Public inquiries are open to the public and the media. However, numbers of attendees at the Inquiry premises are currently severely restricted because of the Covid-19 restrictions which are in place. Therefore reporting on the hearings is largely happening remotely and proceedings are being live-streamed on the Inquiry’s YouTube channel.

11. Can I catch up with the proceedings at a later date?

The hearings will be available to watch on the Inquiry’s YouTube channel after the hearing. Transcripts of the hearings will also be published following the hearing, unless any contrary order or restriction notice is in place.

12. What did the first hearing cover?

Evidence from patients and their families was heard about their perceptions of the impact on patient safety and care of issues arising in relation to ventilation, water and drainage and other matters, and the communication with patients and their families in relation to those issues.

13. Has the Health Board, or the staff mentioned in the witness statements of first hearings, had a chance to respond to the perceptions put forward by the patients and families?

The focus of the first hearings was to hear the experiences of the patients and families. The core participants did not have the opportunity to respond to the evidence heard. However, closing submissions were subsequently submitted by core participants, which identified emerging themes as well as concerns arising from the evidence. There will also be an opportunity for core participants and their staff to respond to the evidence of patients and their families, either during the course of the Inquiry’s investigations or at future hearings.

14. Will I be approached by the Inquiry Team to provide a witness statement?

The Inquiry Team is carrying out investigations, which include reviewing all relevant documentation and interviewing individuals with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the issues in relation to adequacy of ventilation, water contamination and other matters which arose in the construction and delivery of the QEUH, as well as the response to emerging issues related to infections of patients at the hospital after it was opened.

If you have knowledge of these issues, you may be asked by the Inquiry team to provide a witness statement.

15. Do I have to provide a witness statement if requested to do so?

Yes. Lord Brodie has powers under the Inquiries Act 2005 to compel a person to give evidence to the Inquiry. If you do not comply with a requirement by the Chair, you may be found to have committed a criminal offence.

16. As a former NHS employee, do I still have to cooperate with the Inquiry?

Yes. Lord Brodie has powers under the Inquiries Act 2005 to compel any person to give evidence to the Inquiry. If you do not comply with a requirement by the Chair, you may be found to have committed a criminal offence.

17. What happens next?

If the Inquiry Team considers that if might be useful to speak to you in respect of your knowledge of these issues, you will be contacted by a named team member from the Inquiry Team’s Witness Engagement and Support Team to arrange a suitable time for an interview appointment. Your named team member will confirm the interview details in writing, provide the name of the person who will conduct the interview, the location (or whether it will be appropriate to take the statement remotely, and will also ensure that you understand what is involved in providing evidence, giving statements and attending hearings.

The Inquiry team will inform you in advance of the issues about which you will be asked, as well as providing you with copies of the documentation you may be asked about.

18. Who can I take with me to the witness interview?

You may have somebody present with you at the witness interview, such as a work colleague, friend, official from your Trade Union or Professional Organisation, or a solicitor from the NHS Central Legal Office’s (“CLO”) dedicated Scottish Hospitals Inquiry team (which is acting for NHSGGC in the Inquiry). It is recommended that whoever accompanies you is not themselves likely to be asked to provide a statement.  The recommendation is that a solicitor from CLO attends with you to provide as full legal support as possible.

19. Can I obtain separate legal representation?

NHSGGC will support you as fully as possible throughout your involvement in the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry. However, if you would prefer to be accompanied by an independent solicitor, the Inquiries Act 2005 allows for the possibility of an award of funding for legal representation for witnesses; applications for funding for legal representation must be approved in advance. There is further information on this on the Inquiry website and you can speak with the Inquiry’s witness support team about this.

20. What happens at the witness interview?

There are likely to be two members of the Inquiry team in attendance, who will take your statement, by asking you questions and referring you to documentation for your comment. Giving a witness statement may take some time.  The statement takers will allow regular breaks, but you should feel free to ask for breaks whenever you want. If a meeting is likely to last a long time, the interview will be spread over more than one day. Consider making your own notes of the interview; this will help in remembering what was said when you receive the draft statement of your interview.

21. Do I get a chance to see, and make changes to, my statement before it is finalised?

Shortly after your interview, you will receive a draft copy of your witness statement. This must be read thoroughly and any changes, additions or deletions can be made at this stage. You should sign the statement once you are satisfied that it accurately reflects your evidence. You may be asked to provide electronic verification in place of a signature, if the process is taking place remotely. Once the statement is signed, it then becomes your evidence to the Inquiry. If you subsequently wish to say something more, you can make a further statement.

22. Will my witness statement be public and will it attract media interest?

Witness statements are published on the Inquiry website several days prior to witnesses being called to give evidence, so the media will have access to materials before and during each stage of the Inquiry hearings. This could lead to witnesses being quoted in media reports prior to appearing at the Inquiry.

23. Will I be called as a witness at the Inquiry?

Any member of staff who has been interviewed and provided a statement to the Inquiry Team may then be called as a witness at the Inquiry. However, in many cases, a witness’ statement will be sufficient and they will not also be required to give evidence at a hearing.

24. What should I do to prepare before giving evidence to the Inquiry?

If you are called to give evidence, it is important that you prepare for this by:

  • Reviewing all personal notes and files, as well as the documentation provided to you by the Inquiry Team in advance of giving your witness statement.
  • Familiarising yourself with the hearing surroundings by viewing the film of the venue provided by the Inquiry Team in advance.
  • Being prepared for possible media interest in the lead up to the hearing.
  • Being aware that you may have to wait at the hearing venue before you are called as a witness.
25. What should I expect when giving evidence to the Inquiry?

When called to give evidence, you must take an oath, or affirm, declaring that you will tell the truth at all times.

You are then likely to be questioned on who you are, your qualifications and experience, and your place of work before going on to the circumstances surrounding the issues in relation to adequacy of ventilation, water contamination and other matters which arose in the construction and delivery of the QEUH and thereafter.

26. What are the key tips to remember when giving evidence?

Listen carefully to the questions you are asked and take time to consider your response. Do not feel pressured to give a “yes” or “no” response and be ready to explain your view. If you can’t remember the date of an event or don’t know the answer to a question, say so – don’t try to guess and do not speculate.

If a question has multiple parts, break down your answer. If you are unsure of the question, ask for it to be repeated. Be calm, courteous and honest. Remain objective, and do not get personal. Speak clearly and concisely, and be ready to confirm your evidence from notes taken at the time, or by reference to your witness statement. If your role is a central one, be prepared for a possible lengthy session in the witness box which may last several hours.

Do:

  • Prepare in advance
  • Be fully familiar with the issues in the case
  • Give detailed and relevant answers
  • Say if you cannot remember
  • Be alert and astute to the atmosphere in the venue
  • Direct your answers to the Chair, even though counsel to the Inquiry is asking the questions: the Chair is the decision maker
  • Be clear in what you say and speak loudly enough for the Chair and Counsel to the Inquiry to hear you
  • Be ready and willing to expand and explain your answers if requested
  • Be ready and willing to see the argument in opposing views but be firm and clear about your own evidence
  • Be prepared for delays
  • Be aware that this is a formal proceeding and dress appropriately
  • Try to remain calm
  • Try to avoid appearing defensive
  • Stick to the facts – don’t make assumptions about what other people did or did not do
  • Try to avoid jargon, medical or hospital language that others may not understand

Try not to:

  • React emotionally
  • Be arrogant, impatient, aggressive, rude, argumentative or appear patronising
27. What happens if I am approached by a journalist?

Given the restricted number of attendees at the Inquiry premises, it is unlikely that the media will approach witnesses to the Inquiry. Should you be approached by a journalist, however, there is no obligation for you to make comment. The media may also take photographs of witnesses arriving at or departing from the Inquiry.

The NHSGGC Communications team is on hand to advise and support you if you are in any doubt about what to do if contacted by the press. They can be contacted by telephone, 0141 201 4429, or email, press.office@ggc.scot.nhs.uk 24 hours a day.

28. Is there anyone at NHSGGC I can talk to about my participation in the Inquiry?

Yes.

NHSGGC is fully committed to providing support to all staff who may be involved in the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry. NHSGGC Legal Office operates a “Witness Service” that offers support and guidance to all witnesses asked to give evidence at a hearing. The service they can provide which would be helpful to any NHS staff member if required is:

  • Practical help
  • Information on Inquiry procedures
  • Guidance regarding further support
  • A listening ear for anxieties/concerns

If you would like support from this service generally, or if you are invited to give a statement/evidence, please contact Rachel McGowan, 07583 121674 or rachel.mcgowan@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

Additionally, the NHS Central Legal Office (“CLO”) is acting for NHSGGC in the Inquiry. The CLO has a dedicated Scottish Hospitals Inquiry team which is working alongside the Witness Service and can provide you with as full legal support as required, including accompanying you, if requested, to any witness interview meeting.

Of course, you may also seek support and advice from your Trade Union or Professional Organisation.

29. Am I obliged to provide a precognition to the CLO if requested to do so?

A precognition is an informal statement, used for internal purposes only, and not for wider disclosure, and is covered by legal privilege. The CLO might suggest that they take a precognition from you as part of its fact-finding phase. While you are not obliged to provide such a statement to the CLO, we would strongly advise you to do so: this process assists with building your own picture of the events to which you can speak; and if called by the Inquiry to give evidence, you must do so, so having taken the preparatory step of assimilating your recollection of matters in advance of that more formal process is hugely beneficial.

30. Will what I say to the CLO solicitors be in the public domain?

No. Any conversation you may have with a member of the CLO team is confidential and is covered by legal professional privilege, whereby written or oral confidential communications between a lawyer and a client are protected for the purpose of giving or receiving legal advice.

31. Is there anyone on the Inquiry Team I can speak to for support?

Yes. The Inquiry has set up a Witness Engagement and Support Team which is available to anyone who is a witness to the Inquiry, i.e. anyone who is either giving a witness statement, or giving evidence at an Inquiry hearing. They can provide information about what the Inquiry does and how they do it.

The witness support team can be contacted either via the NHSGGC Witness Service and/or CLO, or using the following details:

32. If asked to provide certain documentation relating to the issues set out in the Terms of Reference by a solicitor from the CLO, should I do so?

Yes. The CLO is supporting NHSGGC in the information-gathering stage of Inquiry preparations. Part of that exercise comprises a review of documentation and an assessment of its relevance to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference and to the specific Requests for Information which the Inquiry Team has made. The provision of any documentation to the CLO does not mean that there will be automatic onward provision of this documentation to the Inquiry Team.

Subject to certain exceptions, should any material be considered to be relevant to these Requests, there is a legal obligation for this to be provided by NHSGGC, or the CLO on its behalf, to the Inquiry Team.

33. What if the material is sensitive, contains personal data or is legally privileged?

There are protocols in place to deal with the provision of sensitive or legally privileged material, including an application by the CLO to the Inquiry Team for an order for redaction (obscuring parts of text) or restriction of the publication of the material.

34. I have heard that there is also a Police investigation, is that correct?

The Lord Advocate has instructed an investigation by Police Scotland into the deaths of four patients at the hospital. This investigation is to establish whether, in relation to water and ventilation, any offences have been committed by NHSGGC. At this stage we understand the focus of the investigation is directed at NHSGGC as an organisation and not at individuals.

35. I have received a letter from Police Scotland which makes reference to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. What does this mean for me?

As noted above, the Police are investigating a number of deaths at the hospital to establish whether there have been any health and safety failings by NHSGGC. This includes investigating whether offences have been committed under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

The offence of corporate homicide in Scotland (corporate manslaughter in England) is one which is committed by a company or organisation in relation to a work-related death, where a gross breach of duty of care to the deceased by the organisation is established which has caused or contributed to the death, and the way in which the organisation’s activities were managed or organised by its senior management constituted a substantial element in that breach.

The offence is concerned with corporate liability and does not apply to directors or other individuals who have a senior or junior role in the company or organisation.

36. Will I be interviewed as part of the Police Investigation?

If you have knowledge of matters relevant to the Police investigation, you may be asked to attend for interview to provide a statement.

37. Do I have to attend for interview and provide a statement to the Police if asked?

No. Attending an interview and providing a statement to the Police is voluntary. However, NHSGGC wishes to cooperate fully with the Police investigation and would therefore ask that you consider this when deciding whether to agree to a request for an interview.

38. What should I do if I am contacted by Police Scotland requesting an interview?

Please see Question 28 above.

39. Who can I take with me to a Police interview?

Please see Question 18 above.

40. Can I obtain separate legal representation?

NHSGGC will support you as fully as possible and should you wish NHSGGC will make a solicitor from the CLO available to speak with you beforehand in order to answer any questions you may have, and to attend with you to the interview. However, if you would prefer to be accompanied by an independent solicitor, please contact your Trade Union or Professional Organisation.

41. Do I need to prepare for a Police interview?

It is unlikely that Police Scotland will provide details on what they intend to cover at the interview in advance. If so, preparation will not be possible. It is recommended that you do not bring any documentation or notes with you to the interview as the Police Officers can take possession of these – see also Q.43 below.

42. What happens at a Police interview?

Similar to Question 20 above, there will be two Police Officers in attendance. One of the Officers will hand write the statement during the interview. Although you will be responding to questions, the statement will be written as a first person narrative. This interview process therefore may take some time.  You should feel free to ask for breaks whenever you want.

43. What are the key tips to remember when being interviewed by the Police?

These are similar to Question 26 above:

  • Listen carefully to the questions you are asked and take time to consider your response.
  • If you do not understand the question or are unsure about what you are being asked, then ask for clarification.
  • Do not feel pressured to give a “yes” or “no” response where that would not be correct, but instead provide a full response explaining the position.
  • If you don’t remember or don’t know the answer to a question, just say so – don’t try to guess and do not speculate.
  • If a question has multiple parts, break down the question and your answer.
  • If you feel someone else would be better placed to answer a particular question, feel free to say so, as part of the purpose of the questions is to find out who is best to answer them.
  • If you need to see a particular document in order to answer a question, ask for this document and if the Police have it available they will show it to you. If the document is not available, the Police Officer will request a copy from NHSGGC.
  • Be calm, courteous and honest. Speak slowly, clearly and concisely, as that will make it easier for the Police Officer who is writing down your responses.
44. If requested, should I provide documents to the Police?

If the Police ask you to provide any copies of documents including clinical notes, technical information or organisational information please advise the Police that all information is available through contacting Rachel McGowan, Legal Claims & Witness Support Manager directly at: Rachel.McGowan@ggc.scot.nhs.uk or on telephone number 07583 121674

45. Do I get a chance to see, and make changes to, my Police statement before it is finalised?

Yes. At the conclusion of the interview, or at multiple points during the interview if it is a long interview, you will be asked to read through the statement that has been written by the Police Officer to check that it is accurate. You must read the statement carefully and make any corrections, changes, additions or deletions that you wish. Once this has been completed you will be asked to sign every page of the statement as well as sign at the end to confirm that the statement is a true and accurate record. You will not be provided with a copy of the final statement.

46. Will my Police statement be made public?

No. Your Police statement is confidential.

Civil Law

Civil law deals with disputes between individuals or individuals and companies and their rights and duties to each other.  Either defendant or pursuer may be found to be wrong and be liable for damages (compensation to be paid).  Civil law exists to protect individuals against one another.  Civil law sets out the rights and duties of individuals. For instance, an individual or a business agrees to provide goods or services to another at a price, but the goods or services are substandard, a claim can be brought under consumer protection law.  The outcome of civil law cases is decided on the balance of probabilities that the act or omission alleged occurred.

Criminal Law

Criminal law deals with criminal offences and their punishment. The burden of proof in a criminal case is to demonstrate that guilt has been proven ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.  Scottish Law is unique in having three possible verdicts; guilty, ‘not guilty’ and ‘not proven’. Criminal Law ensures every citizen knows the boundaries of acceptable conduct in the UK.  For example, it is clearly unacceptable conduct to steal from another individual, or take the life of another.  

A breach of criminal law is seen as a wrong against society as a whole. If an individual breaches criminal law and commits an offence, they may well face criminal prosecution and, if convicted, will receive an adequate penalty.  Punishments for criminal offences are typically fines, imprisonment and or a community sentence

Decisions made in legal actions are based decisions made in previous cases.

Sometimes, both criminal and civil law will arise in relation to an incident. Road users, for instance, have a duty of care towards other road users. If a road user is driving carelessly and causes an accident which injures another person, a civil claim can be brought for damages for negligence, in addition to any criminal prosecution.

What is a Precognition Statement and why am I being asked for one?

A precognition statement is different from the witness statement you may have already given to the Police.

A precognition statement is a distinctive feature of the Scottish legal system.  It is the face to face interview of a witness who may be called to give evidence at an upcoming Fatal Accident Inquiry, civil case, criminal trial.  

A precognition statement is taken to evaluate the evidence the witness will give whilst under oath in court. You may be requested to provide a precognition statement if you:-

  • Have been involved in the treatment and care of a patient
  • Have witnessed a crime or been a victim of a crime
  • Have seen or heard something in connection with a an accident or crime
  • Have information about someone accused of a crime/or legal claim  
  • Have been involved either directly or indirectly in a children’s hearing case
  • Expert witness

Providing a precognition statement is an important aspect of the Scottish Legal System. Please note, opposing sides can interview each other’s witnesses prior to attendance in court and again, this is to evaluate the evidence witnesses are likely to give in court.

If you have any specific questions about a recent request to provide a precognition statement, and are just unsure, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Rachel McGowan, Legal Claims Manager.

Nursing and Midwifery Council Hearing (MNC)

Ensuring Support for both NMC Witnesses & Registrants – Board Wide

Your role as a witness in a Fitness to Practise (FtP) investigation is very important. The information you provide assists the NMC carry out a full and fair investigation. It helps them to fulfil their duty in protecting the public.

If you have reported an incident to the NMC or your name has been given as a possible witness, then in some cases they will hold a public hearing so that a decision can be made by an independent FtP Panel.

If you are a witness you may be called to give your evidence at the hearing so the panel can hear your evidence and ask you questions about what happened and what information you may know.

From the time of giving your initial statement and the hearing date being set may be some time.  During this time, it may help to familiarise yourself with records and reports in relation to the case and where possible consider what decisions were taken, when and why. Ensure you have some practical and emotional support if you are feeling unsure and anxious.

The NMC website also has detailed information and leaflets for NMC witnesses about what to expect during the investigation process, attending the hearing as well as a helpful virtual tour of a typical hearing room. 

I would encourage you to read the information booklets published by NMC (I have provided links below) in the first instance prior to seeking further support. The NMC information may answer and address any questions/concerns you may have at this time. 

Understandably, this can be an anxious time for staff that are being called to give their evidence at a Hearing and therefore support is available to staff Board Wide within NHSGGC, enabling both NMC witnesses and registrants to seek support leading up to the Hearing.

For staff who are feeling anxious, worried there is support available to you where I can offer you:- 

  • One to one support to address specific concerns and questions
  • Practical support and guidance around expectations of being called as a witness
  • Information around NMC Hearing process and what to expect at the Hearing 
  • Arrangements for you to visit the NMC Office in Edinburgh prior to hearing starting, or on the day of your arrival. 
  • Group Support – Question and Answering sessions can be helpful when there are quite a few staff being cited from the one ward area allowing staff to raise and discuss any general concerns around the expectations of being called as a witness.
  • Having a point of contact of support during the NMC process can be of great benefit to staff who require additional support and guidance.
  • I work in collaboration with NMC Witness Liaison Officers, Edinburgh ensuring dedicated support leading up to the Hearing and also on day of arrival at the Hearing.

Any questions, get in touch with Rachel McGowan, Legal Claims Manager.

Sheriff and High Court Trials (Criminal Cases)

Staff may be called at some point in their professional career to give evidence in a criminal case.  Being involved in the criminal justice system can be a daunting and unknown process for NHS staff.  When witnesses are called in criminal cases they may also be victims of crime, for example, you were assaulted. As a witness, you have an important role to play by telling the court the truth about what you know or may have seen.  This information is known as the witness’s evidence. The court needs witnesses to give their evidence to allow them to build up a picture of what has happened and to reach a verdict or decision.  If you are a witness, it may mean you:- 

  • Have been a victim of a crime
  • Have seen or heard something in connection with a crime
  • Have information about someone accused of a crime
  • Have been involved either directly or indirectly in a children’s hearing court case.
  • Expert witness

There are three different people who may call (or more formally known as ‘cite’) you to be a witness:-

  • The Procurator Fiscal (also known as fiscal or prosecution)
  • The Defence or other Solicitor
  • The Reporter to the Children’s Panel

As a witness, you will receive a letter that tells you where and when to go to court and this is called your citation. You may feel anxious about appearing in court but assistance and support is available for NHS staff called as witnesses. Court visits can be arranged for anxious staff in advance to help them become more familiar with the courtroom and court process.  

It is important not to ignore your citation. If you do not turn up at the correct time and place, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest.  You can contact the procurator fiscal if you have any questions, concerns or special requirements in advance of the trial.

Questioning & Cross examination

When the time has come for you to give your evidence, you will be shown to the witness box where you will remain standing to give your evidence (please also read over section on court visit).  You will then be asked to swear on oath/affirmation to tell the whole truth to the Sheriff/ Judge of that courtroom. 

Questioning will then begin with who you are, your qualifications, age, experience and your place of work before going in to the circumstances surrounding your involvement in the case.  Try to:-

  • Be calm, courteous and honest – remain objective
  • Speak clearly and concisely
  • Focus on the question at hand
  • Take time to consider your response
  • Be ready to confirm/back up your evidence
  • If you can’t remember or don’t know the answer to a question – say so – and don’t guess
  • If unsure of the question, ask for it to be repeated/clarified
  • Cross-examiners may try to challenge your experience, qualifications – remain calm, factual and professional by giving a reasoned response
  • Don’t be defensive
  • Don’t react emotionally
  • Be professional

 By way of supporting and assisting you for upcoming trial, I can offer you:-

  • Practical support and guidance on court and legal process 
  • Court Familiarisation Visit in advance of trial to aid you in preparation of giving your evidence on day of trial 
  • One to one support to address specific challenges, concerns/anxieties
  • Q&A Sessions where large numbers of staff are cited to court
  • Work in partnership with other agencies such as Witness Service and Victim Information and Advice (VIA) in respect of vulnerable witnesses

I would encourage you to have a read over the undernoted leaflets, one for Sheriff Court Witnesses and one for High Court Witnesses compiled by the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service COPFS.

An FAI is a legal process that seeks to explain the circumstances and facts leading up to a person’s death.  Once an FAI has been decided and intimated on the Board by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), the Legal Claims Manager will instruct NHS Central Legal Office  (CLO) to protect the interest of the Board and staff at the inquiry. Inquiries are normally held before Sheriffs and generally take place in Sheriff Court buildings.   

Staff involved in the case will be called as witnesses to give their evidence on knowledge of fact or as an expert witness. If you have previously given a statement to the police/PF during the initial Investigation, it is most likely you will be called to give evidence at the FAI.   

Leading up to the FAI, staff may be contacted to provide a further statement (precognition) along with any other information that may be relevant in the preparation of the FAI.  This contact could be from either the CLO Solicitor who is acting on behalf of the Board or the Procurator Fiscal during the preparation of the FAI.   

The FAI needs to determine five main points:- 

  • Where and when the death took place
  • The cause or causes of death
  • The reasonable precautions, if any, that might have avoided the death
  • The defects, if any, in any system of work that contributed to the death
  • Any other facts relevant to the circumstances of the death

Preparation for FAI

Preparation for Court is essential. The gap between the initial PF investigation and the decision being made to hold an FAI can be months or even years.  Take this time to prepare and familiarise yourself about FAIs ensuring you have all the support you need professionally and emotionally to assist and guide you through what can be a stressful and worrying time for staff.  Staff should try and keep in mind that FAIs are not held to find fault or apportion blame with an individual, but to identify and rectify any systematic defects.

You should familiarise yourself with records and reports in relation to the matter and consider what decisions were taken, when and why.  It may also be helpful to think about any factors which may have had a bearing on the death and how you will respond to questions about these.  You will be expected to give evidence on the five main points listed above.   

Questioning

Generally, you will be questioned on who you are, your qualifications, age and experience and place of work before going in to the circumstances surrounding the death.  Try to:- 

  • Be calm, courteous and honest – remain objective
  • Speak clearly and concisely
  • Focus on the question at hand
  • Take time to consider your response
  • Be ready to confirm/back up your evidence from medical notes, reports, etc
  • Refer to your notes if required
  • If you can’t remember or don’t know the answer to a question – say so – and do not guess
  • If unsure of the question, ask for it to be repeated or clarified
  • Do not give an opinion on a matter which you are not qualified to do so
  • Do not discuss your evidence with other witnesses
  • Do not attribute fault to others unless you are an expert witness
  • Try not to use any abbreviations or slang

Questioning is led by the Procurator Fiscal who is representing the public’s interest which then follows on to:-

  • Solicitor representing the deceased’s family (if they have chosen to appoint legal representation)
  • Solicitor representing the NHS (CLO)
  • Legal representation of any individuals who have chosen to be represented in their own right

All relevant medical records, reports are lodged in Court in advance of the trial and can be placed in front of you when in the witness stand to allow you to refer to when giving your evidence, these are known as productions.    

The following support and guidance is available to staff during the PF/FAI:-

  • Practical support and guidance in relation to FAI process
  • Information on court procedures and what to expect as a witness
  • Court familiarisation visit in advance of FAI
  • Support in court on day(s) of giving your evidence
  • One to one support to address any specific concerns or questions
  • Signposting on to other support agencies
  • FAI resource booklet

NHSGGC has a process in place for the handling and management of Sudden and Unexpected Deaths Investigations under investigation by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) led by Rachel McGowan, Legal Claims Manager who works closely with NHS staff and the Procurator Fiscals Service (The Scottish Fatalities Unit) during all PF Investigations underway within NHSGGC. 

The Procurator Fiscals Office investigates sudden, unexpected, suspicious, accidental and unexplained deaths occurring in Scotland.  When a death occurs, and the circumstances appear to give cause for concern, the PF will undertake an investigation looking at the facts surrounding the death.  The initial investigation is not an FAI, but it may lead to one as this is the purpose of the investigation to determine whether an FAI should be considered. 

Mandatory FAI’s are held in to deaths that result from an accident in the course of employment and deaths in legal custody, for example, prison deaths, police custody. 

The sole purpose of the PF investigation is to determine if there should be an FAI. The undernoted five main points will be considered, investigated allowing PF/Crown Office to come to a decision:- 

  • Where and when the death took place
  • Cause or causes of the death
  • The reasonable precautions, if any, that might have avoided the death
  • The defects, if any, in any system of work that contributed to the death
  • Any other facts relevant to the circumstances of the death

During the investigation stage, PF can request various pieces of information to assist them, for example, Significant Critical Incident Report (SCI), Action Plan, training details, complaints paperwork, information on any recommendations and actions taken as a result of internal review.  PF may also seek statements (precognition statement) from relevant clinical and nursing staff involved in the treatment and care of the deceased leading up to their death.  Precognition statements taken by the PF or a Precognition Officer are normally done face to face and on a one to one basis with no other parties present.  The purpose of taking a precognition statement is to allow PF to evaluate your evidence in respect of the circumstances surrounding the death. 

The PF investigation can last months or even years and once concluded, recommendations will be made by PF to the Crown Office on whether an FAI should take place in relation to the facts surrounding the death. 

If you are currently involved in a procurator fiscal investigation, it may be helpful to have a read over the NHS Staff Resource Guide on FAI’s along with the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) link on this site providing you with some helpful information and guidance in respect of that process, if and when, an FAI is determined by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

Staff could be cited in respect of litigation cases raised against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde which could relate to a Personal Injury and/or Medical Negligence claim. 

Personal injury law in Scotland is designed to support people who have suffered injury or illness through no fault of their own. This area of law makes it possible for injured parties to make a claim for any pain or loss suffered. Personal injury can include, for example, an injury at work or an injury caused by an error in hospital treatment. 

Staff can be called by either the Pursuer’s Solicitor (Solicitors acting on behalf of the person who raises the claim) or the NHS Central Legal Office (CLO, NHS Solicitors) who will defend the claim. 

Support and guidance is available to NHS staff called in respect of Legal Claims as follows:-

  • Practical support and guidance
  • Information on court and legal process
  • Guidance regarding further support
  • One to one support to address specific concerns or questions
  • Signposting

Please note, in respect of legal claims, each service/sector will have a designated Legal Claims Manager dealing with the case who will be able to respond to your questions in the first instance.

Attending court can be a daunting and anxious experience for staff, therefore, it may be helpful for you to think about having a court visit in advance of your trial/hearing.  A court visit is one way, if not the best way, to prepare and familiarise yourself with the court and court process.  This will help you know where the court is located, allowing you to plan your route, parking and travelling on the day of giving your evidence, the less stress the better on the day!  This may seem like simple measures but will ease a great deal of stress for you on the day of giving your evidence.

Having a court familiarisation visit will also help prepare you in advance of the court surroundings, allowing you to become familiar with the court, courtroom, witness room giving you plenty of information and guidance on who is who along with court process. This will take away the unknown formality of the court and allow you to approach the witness stand feeling more confident and assured of the process, keeping in mind, you are assisting the court as a professional witness.  If you are feeling anxious about an upcoming trial or an upcoming Fatal Accident Inquiry, I would encourage you to consider a court visit which I will be happy to assist and support you with this. 

Court visits have been of great assistance to many NHS staff over the years (specifically in FAI’s cases) helping staff prepare well in advance.   

Court visits are normally arranged between 1.00pm until 2.00pm when the court stop for lunch. This allows you to visit the court and witness room when everything is a little quieter to allow you to take it all at your own pace and allows for any specific concerns and questions you may have.

When the day arrives of giving your evidence, dress comfortably and smart, arrive in plenty of time. 

When you arrive at the court you will have to go through court security first (a bit like airport security – you will be searched, bag, jacket) which can take time if court is busy, specifically, first thing in the morning when everyone is arriving at court.

Make sure to take your citation with you to court and report to the main reception desk where court staff will direct you to the appropriate area/witness room where you will wait until you hear your name being called by court staff.  Be prepared for a wait!   

When the court is ready for you to give your evidence, you will hear your name being called by a court official who will take you to the court room, once inside the court room they will direct you to the witness box where you will remain standing to give your evidence (unless you are unable to do so due to medical reasons).  You will then be asked to take the oath or affirm by the Sheriff or Judge and questioning will then begin with the Procurator Fiscal/Advocate Depute who will address you first.  

Version 1.0 (March 2022)

1. Introduction

The aim of this document is to inform and advise NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde staff on the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry. It outlines the Public Inquiry process and gives advice on how staff can prepare and where staff can find support.

Taking part in a Public Inquiry can be stressful. Staff can find their actions questioned and challenged in an environment that can feel alien. Making sure that all staff understand what is involved will help our staff and help the Inquiry establish what happened.

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGGC) is fully committed to supporting staff through the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry. Appendix 1 has details on the type of support available and how to access this support.

2. The Scottish Hospitals Inquiry

Background

In November 2019, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeanne Freeman, announced in the Scottish Parliament that a Public Inquiry would be held to examine issues at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus (QEUH) and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) and Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DCN), following concerns about patient safety and wellbeing, in order to determine how issues relating to ventilation, water and other key building systems gave rise to those concerns, how they occurred and what steps could be taken to prevent such issues arising in future projects.

The Inquiry is a Public Inquiry, set up under the Inquiries Act 2005. Lord Brodie was appointed as the Chair of the Inquiry with effect from 28 November 2019 and the Inquiry work commenced on 3 August 2020. The Terms of Reference of the Inquiry, which specify its remit and the issues it will be examining in more detail, were published on 15 June 2020 (Appendix 2). The first evidential hearings took place between 20 September and 5 November 2021.

What is a Public Inquiry?

A Public Inquiry is a formal, independent review relating to particular events which have caused or have potential to cause public concern, or where there is public concern that particular events may have occurred. It is inquisitorial in nature, not adversarial. The aim of a Public Inquiry is to help to restore public confidence in systems or services by investigating the facts through consideration of documentary and witness evidence, to determine what happened and help prevent recurrence. The outcome of a Public Inquiry is the production by the Inquiry Team of a report which details key findings of fact and makes recommendations. It is not the purpose of a Public Inquiry to determine issues of civil or criminal liability.

Format of the Public Inquiry

The Inquiry Team gathers evidence in the form of statements and documents, considers that evidence and prepares for hearings at which the evidence is tested.

The first formal hearing of the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry was held on 22 June 2021 remotely, in line with COVID-19 restrictions. This was a short hearing where Lord Brodie set out arrangements for the hearings commencing in September.

The first diet of oral hearings was conducted over the course of five weeks, between 20 September and 5 November 2021. Evidence from patients and their families was heard about their perceptions of the impact on patient safety and care from issues arising in relation to ventilation, water and drainage and other matters, and the communication with patients and their families in relation to those issues.

NHSGGC is a core participant at the Public Inquiry. Core participants were invited to submit brief opening written statements and make a brief oral statement in support of those written statements, upon the commencement of the first hearings, which provided an opportunity for lawyers representing the core participants to set out their approach and objectives.

The focus of the first hearings was to hear the experiences of the patients and families. The core participants did not have the opportunity to respond to the evidence heard. However, closing submissions were subsequently submitted by core participants, which identified emerging themes as well as concerns arising from the evidence. There will also be an opportunity for core participants to respond to the evidence of patients and their families, either during the course of the Inquiry’s investigations or at future hearings, which will examine the remaining Terms of Reference.

The next diet of hearings is due to take place in May 2022, where the Inquiry will focus primarily on the theory and practice of ventilation and matters relating to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh.

It is anticipated that further oral hearings relating to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children will commence no earlier than Autumn/Winter 2022. The timetable has not yet been fixed for these hearings and the Inquiry team has not yet confirmed what the focus of those hearings will be.

3. Statements

Appendix 1 has information on the support available to staff who have been asked to provide a statement.

Investigations continue to be carried out by the Inquiry Team. This involves reviewing all relevant paperwork, notes and records; and interviewing individuals with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the issues in relation to adequacy of ventilation, water contamination and other matters which arose in the construction and delivery of the hospital(s). There are also investigations relating to the response to emerging issues related to infections of patients at the QEUH after it was opened.

You may be asked by the Inquiry team to provide a witness statement, in which case you will be contacted by a named team member from the Inquiry Team’s Witness Engagement and Support Team to arrange a suitable time for an interview appointment. Your named team member will confirm the interview details in writing, provide the name of the person who will conduct the interview, and will also ensure that you understand what is involved in providing evidence, giving statements and attending hearings.

You may have somebody present with you at this meeting, such as a work colleague, friend, official from your Trade Union or Professional Organisation, or a solicitor from the NHS Central Legal Office’s (“CLO”) dedicated Scottish Hospitals Inquiry team (which is acting for NHSGGC in the Inquiry). It is recommended that whoever accompanies you is not themselves likely to be asked to provide a statement.  The recommendation is that a solicitor from CLO attends with you to provide as full legal support as possible.

However, if you would prefer to be accompanied by an independent solicitor, the Inquiries Act 2005 allows for the possibility of an award of funding for legal representation for witnesses; applications for funding for legal representation must be approved in advance. There is further information on this on the Inquiry website and you would have to speak with the Inquiry’s witness support team about this.

You can arrange a meeting with the Inquiry team during your work time but, if you wish to do so, you must inform your Line Manager to organise your work pattern and arrange cover if required.

Preparation

It is important that, if you are asked to provide a witness statement, you review and are familiar with relevant records, case notes and documentation. The Inquiry team will inform you in advance of the issues about which you will be asked, as well as providing you with copies of the documentation you may be asked about.

Interviews

If you have been asked to provide a witness statement, you will also be informed of the location of the interview, or whether it will be appropriate to take the statement remotely.

There are likely to be two members of the Inquiry team in attendance, who will take your statement. Giving a witness statement may take some time.  The statement takers will allow regular breaks, but you should feel free to ask for breaks whenever you want. If a meeting is likely to last a long time, the interview will be spread over more than one day. Consider making your own notes of the interview; this will help in remembering what was said when you receive the draft statement of your interview.

You will have the opportunity to get support from the NHSGGC Witness Service and/or CLO before you give a statement to the Inquiry Team.  See Appendix 1.

Signing the Statement

Shortly after your interview, you will receive a draft copy of your witness statement. This must be read thoroughly, and any changes, additions or deletions can be made at this stage. You should sign the statement once you are satisfied that it accurately reflects your evidence. You may be asked to provide electronic verification in place of a signature, if the process is taking place remotely. Once the statement is signed, it then becomes your evidence to the Inquiry. If you subsequently wish to say something more, you can make a further statement.

4. Appearing as a Witness

Any member of staff who has been interviewed and provided a statement to the Inquiry Team may then be called as a witness at the Public Inquiry. However, in many cases, a witness’ statement will be sufficient and they will not also be required to give evidence at a hearing. Appendix 1 has information on the support available to staff who have been called to appear as a witness.

Statements

Shortly before a witness gives evidence at the hearings his/her statement will be published on the Inquiry website.  A witness’ personal details (i.e. address and date of birth) and signature will not be published.

Called as a witness

If you are called to give evidence, it is important that you prepare for this by:

  • Reviewing all personal notes and files.
  • Familiarising yourself with the hearing surroundings by viewing the film of the venue provided by the Inquiry Team in advance.
  • Being prepared for media interest in the lead up to the hearing and at the hearing venue. See Section 6 for media advice.
  • Being aware that you may have to wait at the hearing venue before you are called as a witness.

Giving Evidence

When called to give evidence, a witness must take an oath, or affirm, declaring that they will tell the truth at all times. Listen carefully to the questions you are asked and take time to consider your response. Do not feel pressured to give a “yes” or “no” response and be ready to explain your view. If you can’t remember the date of an event or don’t know the answer to a question, say so – don’t try to guess. If a question has multiple parts, break down your answer. If you are unsure of the question, ask for it to be repeated.

Generally, you will be questioned on who you are, your qualifications and experience, and your place of work before going on to the circumstances surrounding the issues in relation to adequacy of ventilation, water contamination and other matters which arose in the construction and delivery of the QEUH as well as issues which emerged after its opening. Be calm, courteous and honest. Remain objective, and do not get personal. Speak clearly and concisely, and be ready to confirm your evidence from notes taken at the time, or by reference to your witness statement. If your role is a central one, be prepared for a possible lengthy session in the witness box which may last several hours.

What are key things to remember in giving evidence?

Do:

  • prepare in advance
  • be fully familiar with the issues in the case
  • give detailed and relevant answers
  • say if you cannot remember
  • be alert and astute to the atmosphere in the venue
  • direct your answers to the Chair, even though counsel to the Inquiry is asking the questions: the Chair is the decision maker
  • be clear in what you say and speak loudly enough for the Chair and Counsel to the Inquiry to hear you
  • be ready and willing to expand and explain your answers if requested
  • be ready and willing to see the argument in opposing views but be firm and clear about your own evidence
  • be prepared for delays
  • be aware this is a formal proceeding and dress appropriately
  • try to remain calm
  • try to avoid appearing defensive
  • stick to the facts – don’t make assumptions about what other people did or did not do
  • try to avoid jargon, medical or hospital language that others may not understand.

Try not to:

  • react emotionally
  • be arrogant
  • be impatient
  • appear patronising
  • be aggressive or rude
  • be argumentative.
5. Conclusion

Once all of the evidence has been taken, Lord Brodie will close the Inquiry to consider his determination. The Inquiry is required to report to the Scottish Ministers, making recommendations identifying any lessons learned as soon as reasonably practicable. The Inquiry will end when Lord Brodie has submitted his report to the Scottish Ministers.

6. Media

Public inquiries are open to the public and the media. Witness statements will be posted on the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry website when witnesses are called to give evidence, so the media will have access to materials during each stage of the Inquiry hearings. This could lead to witnesses being quoted in media reports when appearing at the Inquiry.

While newspaper and broadcast media would normally attend a public inquiry, numbers of attendees are currently severely restricted at the Inquiry premises because of the COVID-19 restrictions which are in place. Therefore, reporting on the hearings will largely be done remotely and proceedings are being live-streamed on the Inquiry’s YouTube channel. The hearings will be available to watch again following the hearing. Transcripts of the hearings will also be published following the hearing, unless any contrary order or restriction notice is in place.

In the circumstances, it is unlikely that the media will approach witnesses to the Inquiry but, should you be approached by a journalist, there is no obligation for you to make comment. The media may also take photographs of witnesses arriving at or departing from the Inquiry.

The NHSGGC Communications team is on hand to advise and support you if you are in any doubt about what to do if contacted by the press. They can be contacted by telephone, 0141 201 4429, or email, press.office@ggc.scot.nhs.uk 24 hours a day.

7. Expenses

Staff called to give evidence at the hearing may be entitled to travelling expenses and subsistence allowances. Further information can be found in Appendix 3.

8. Compellability

All staff asked to provide evidence, a statement or appear as a witness will receive a formal request to do so and your cooperation is appreciated. If a member of staff refuses this request, Lord Brodie has the power to apply for an Order from the Court of Session requiring a witness to provide evidence, a statement or appear as a witness, failing which they may be found to have committed a criminal offence.

9. Further Information

Further information on the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry can be found on the Inquiry website: www.hospitalsinquiry.scot

NHS GG&C Communications web portal: NHSGGC : Corporate Communications at NHSGGC

If you would like further advice or someone to support you during an interview, the following contacts may be helpful:

Appendix 1 – Staff Support

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde is fully committed to providing support to all staff who may be involved in the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry.

Witness Support

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Legal Office operates a “Witness Service” that offers support and guidance to all witnesses asked to give evidence at a hearing. The service they can provide which would be helpful to any NHS staff member if required is:

  • Practical help
  • Information on Inquiry procedures
  • Guidance regarding further support
  • A listening ear for your anxieties/concerns

Staff who have used this service in the past have found it to be very helpful. If you are invited to give a statement/evidence and would like some support from this service, please contact Rachel McGowan, 07583 121674 or rachel.mcgowan@ggc.scot.nhs.uk  

Alternatively, you can ask your trade union or professional organisation for support. 

Occupational Health Service 

The Occupational Health service is available to offer additional advice and support if required.   You can contact them in the following ways: 

To arrange an appointment with the OH Counselling service please call: 0141 201 0600 – Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.00am until 5.00pm. 

To speak to an Occupational Health Nurse please call our telephone advice line on 0141 201 0594 Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.00am until 5.00pm. 

To speak to a member of the OH Psychology Staff Support Service please call 0141 277 7623 Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.00am until 5.00pm. 

Alternatively, you can email your enquiry to the Occupational Health Department via our generic email address and a member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible:  Occupational.Health@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

Debriefing

Once the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry hearings are over, all staff involved will have the opportunity for debriefing.

Appendix 2 – Remit and Terms of Reference

Remit

The overarching aim of this Inquiry is to consider the planning, design, construction, commissioning and, where appropriate, maintenance of both the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus (QEUH), Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences (RHCYP/DCN), Edinburgh. The Inquiry will determine how issues relating to adequacy of ventilation, water contamination and other matters adversely impacting on patient safety and care occurred; if these issues could have been prevented; the impacts of these issues on patients and their families; and whether the buildings provide a suitable environment for the delivery of safe, effective person-centred care. The Inquiry will make recommendations to ensure that any past mistakes are not repeated in future NHS infrastructure projects. The Inquiry will do this by fulfilling its Terms of Reference.

Terms of Reference

To examine the issues in relation to adequacy of ventilation, water contamination and other matters adversely impacting on patient safety and care which arose in the construction and delivery of the QEUH and RHCYP/DCN; and to identify whether and to what extent these issues were contributed to by key building systems which were defective in the sense of:

a) Not achieving the outcomes or being capable of the function or purpose for which they were intended;

b) Not conforming to relevant statutory regulation and other applicable recommendations, guidance and good practice.

To examine the arrangements for strategic definition, preparation and brief and concept and design, including the procurement, supply chain and contractual structure adopted for the financing and construction of the buildings, to determine whether any aspect of these arrangements has contributed to such issues and defects.

To examine during delivery of QEUH and RHCYP/DCN projects:

 a) Whether the Boards of NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS Lothian put in place governance processes to oversee the projects and whether they were adequate and effectively implemented, particularly at significant project milestones;

b) Whether operational management provided by the Boards of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lothian was adequate and effective for the scale of such infrastructure projects;

c) The extent to which decision makers involved with the projects sought and facilitated the input and took account of the advice and information provided by, or available from, the clinical leadership team; infection control teams; estate teams; technical experts and other relevant parties to ensure that the built environment made prior provision for the delivery of clinical care;

d) Whether, the organisational culture within the Boards of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lothian encouraged staff to raise concerns and highlight issues in relation to the projects at appropriate times throughout the life cycles of the projects;

e) Whether failures in the operation of systems were a result of failures on the part of the individuals or organisations tasked with specific functions.

To consider whether any individual or body deliberately concealed or failed to disclose evidence of wrongdoing or failures in performance on inadequacies of systems whether during the life of projects or following handover, including evidence relating to the impact of such matters on patient care and patient outcomes; and whether disclosures of such evidence was encouraged, including through implementation of whistleblowing policies, within the organisations involved.

To examine whether, based on the governance arrangements in place, national oversight and support of such a large-scale infrastructure projects was adequate and effective and whether there was effective communication between the organisations involved.

To examine, during the life cycle of the QEUH and RHCYP/DCN projects, how the Boards of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lothian secured assurance and supporting evidence that:

a) All necessary inspection and testing had taken place;

b) All key building systems had been completed and functioned in accordance with contractual specifications and other applicable regulations, recommendations, guidance and good practice and;

c) Adequate information and training were provided to allow end-users effectively to operate and maintain key building systems.

To examine what actions have been taken to remedy defects and the extent to which they have been adequate and effective.

To examine the physical, emotional and other effects of the issues identified on patients and their families (in particular in respect of the environmental organisms linked to infections at the QEUH) and to determine whether communication with patients and their families supported and respected their rights to be informed and to participate in respect of matters bearing on treatment.

To examine the processes and practices of reporting healthcare associated infections with QEUH and determine what lessons have been or should be learned.

To examine whether the choice of sites was appropriate or gave rise to an increased risk to patients of environmental organisms causing infections.

To examine whether there are systematic knowledge transfer arrangements in place to learn lessons from healthcare construction projects and whether they are adequate and effective.

To examine whether NHS Lothian had an opportunity to learn lessons from the experience of issues relating to ventilation, water and drainage systems at the QEUH and what extent they took advantage of that opportunity.

To report to the Scottish Ministers on the above matters, and to make recommendations identifying any lessons learnt to ensure that any past mistakes are not repeated in any future NHS infrastructure projects, as soon as reasonably practicable.

Appendix 3 – Expenses

Expenses forms and guidance can be found on HR Connect at the following links:

Car Users

Members of staff who are registered car users should complete a paper expenses form with details of travel to the hearing venue and this would be reimbursed at the public transport rate of 24p per mile.    

Members of staff who use their own car to travel (and are not registered as a car user) are also entitled to claim public transport rate of 24p per mile and should also complete a paper expenses form.

Public Transport

Members of staff who use public transport to get to the hearing venue should retain their receipts and attach to a completed an expenses form in relation to daily expenses. 

Lunch

Members of staff who are away from their usual workplace and are not close to NHS dining facilities over lunchtime are entitled to claim a subsistence allowance up to £5.00.

Expenses Forms

Refer to the guidance for instructions on how to complete the expenses form. Once authorised by local management, completed forms and receipts should be forwarded to:

Expenses Team
Caledonia House
140 Fifty Pitches Road
Cardonald Business Park
Glasgow
G51 4EB

Queries

If you have any questions about claiming expenses or completing an expenses form, please contact eexpenses@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

Appendix 4 – Venue

The Inquiry premises are at: 20 West Register Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AA.

Just off St Andrew Square, the venue is close to Waverley train station, Edinburgh bus station and has good tram links. No car parking is available at the venue.

The venue has been prepared for the hearings with ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and safety measures in place.

Being a Witness

Going to Court as part of your NHS profession is more common for some staff than others. This site offers some key things to consider when you are cited as a witness, providing some details around the various legal cases some NHS staff could be called to attend.

It is important to keep in mind that witnesses play a key role by giving information in court. The courts need witnesses to give evidence so that they can build up a picture of the facts surrounding the case allowing the court to come to a decision/verdict.  Understandably, witnesses can feel intimidated and anxious about the prospect of attending court and hopefully this site will help answer some questions you may have at this time. 

What is Witness Support?

Preparation is essential when you are being called as a professional witness.  Witnesses have to prepare themselves professionally for Court by reviewing all relevant documents, notes relative to their involvement. The more they prepare the more beneficial and less daunting it should be when the time comes to take the witness stand in court. 

Witness support is practical, emotional support and guidance on court and legal process.  Witness Support is not coaching or influencing witnesses on how to give your evidence but helping you become more prepared, confident and familiarised in the legal process you are about to embark.  Sometimes, the gap between giving a witness statement/precognition statement and a trial/hearing date being set can take many months or years, depending on the type of case.  Therefore, use that time to prepare and familiarise yourself with relevant medical notes/investigation reports ensuring you have all the support you need professionally and emotionally to assist and guide you through what can be a stressful and sometimes worrying time for NHS staff.  

As a starting point, have a read over the site content and familiarise yourself with the appropriate sections, for example, if you are being cited in respect of a Criminal Trial, have a read over Cited to a Criminal Trial section first and then section around court attendance/court visit – Attendance at Court & Court Familiarisation Visit.  This will give you some practical information and guidance and a good starting point in aiding your preparation for Court.