A REVIEW will be carried out at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital after it emerged one of the two patients who died there after contracting an infection linked to pigeon droppings was a child.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, pictured right, confirmed a postmortem examination showed the Cryptococcus fungus was a contributory factor in the death.

An earlier patient was also found to have an infection caused by inhaling Cryptococcus, which is primarily found in soil and pigeon droppings, but Freeman confirmed it did not contribute to their death. Pigeon droppings appeared in a plant room on the hospital’s rooftop via a small break in the wall, which was “invisible to the naked eye”, Freeman said. Adding that it was still unclear how the bacteria had entered the ventilation system, she said a review would be carried out into the design, build, handover and maintenance of the £842 million hospital, which opened in 2015. Freeman said there appeared to be a “number of instances” where the fabric of the building was “less than satisfactory”.

After visiting the hospital yesterday morning, the Health Secretary said: “I have agreed a review, with external expert advice, that will look at the design of the building, the commissioning of the work, the construction of the building, the handover of the building and the maintenance of the building, in order to ensure we identify where issues were raised that should have been addressed and where maintenance programmes now should be perhaps more robust or more frequent.”

Freeman announced the review after setting out “clear factual points” on the two patient deaths to MSPs at Holyrood. She said Cryptococcus had initially been identified in one patient in November last year but it was not linked to that person’s death the following month.

Freeman added: “In December a postmortem of a child confirmed Cryptococcus was both present and a contributory factor in their death.”

She said the second case triggered additional infection control measures by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, including prescribing anti-fungal medication to “vulnerable patients” and the provision of additional air filters. “I am confident the board have taken all the steps they should to ensure and maintain patient safety,” she said.

Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said the public would be “shocked” to learn one of those who had died was a child and claimed there had been a “complete lack of clarity” from the health board about the infection.

Lennon pressed Freeman on when the Scottish Government had been alerted to the issue, after reports an outpatient had contacted previous health secretary Shona Robison in March last year regarding problems with pigeons at the hospital. Freeman said a thorough search had found no trace of such a letter.