NHS Glasgow board named in corporate homicide probe

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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

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The largest health board in Scotland has been named as a suspect in a corporate homicide investigation, following the deaths of four patients at a Glasgow hospital campus.

This marks the first time any corporate body has been named as a suspect in Scotland under suspicion of corporate homicide.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) informed families of the development via a closed Facebook group, confirming it had received an update from the Crown Office, adding there was no indication prosecutors had "formed a final view".

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus first came under scrutiny by Police Scotland in 2021, when a criminal investigation was launched into a number of deaths on campus, including that of 10-year-old Milly Main.

The deaths of Milly, two other children and 73-year-old Gail Armstrong prompted the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to investigate.

Milly's mother previously told a separate public inquiry into the building of several Scottish hospitals that her child's death was "murder".

An earlier review found an infection which contributed to Milly's death was probably caused by the QEUH environment.

Professor John Cuddihy's daughter, Molly, contracted an infection while being treated for cancer. He later gave evidence at the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry.

Professor Cuddihy, a former senior detective, described the corporate homicide investigation as "deeply troubling". He told BBC Scotland News:

"Whilst this is undoubtedly in the public interest, it further compounds the distress, anxiety and trauma experienced by our children, their families and indeed the staff who have cared for and continue to deliver outstanding clinical care for our children.

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"Whilst our confidence in the ongoing public inquiry has been significantly eroded with the unexplained loss of key personnel with whom families had developed trust, we must have faith in COPFS and indeed Police Scotland to carry out their investigations."

In a statement on Sunday, NHSGGC said: "Our sympathies remain with the families who have been affected by events at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Royal Hospital for Children.

"We have received a communication from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) about this update to the status of their ongoing inquiry.

"It should be made clear that this letter does not indicate that the COPFS have formed a final view.

"They have thanked us for our voluntary contribution so far, and we will continue to co-operate with this investigation."

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "COPFS asked Police Scotland to investigate a number of deaths at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus, Glasgow.

"Our investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

 Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar has campaigned for over four years on behalf of the families of the children who died. Mr Sarwar said that Milly's family could now be "one step closer" to getting justice:

"Throughout this entire ordeal, Kimberly and all those who lost loved ones have shown extraordinary courage, while the health board engaged in denial and cover-up.

"To this day, nobody has been held to account for what went so tragically wrong. I long argued that had this scandal occurred in the private sector, there would have been a criminal investigation.

"I hope the full force of the law is used so that no family ever again has to go through what Milly's family have been through."

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