Negative Pressure Inquiry Report

An inquiry into patient safety issues arising from concerns about negative pressure rooms raised by Dr Peter Brambleby, Public Health Director at Norwich Primary Care Trust, has today concluded no patients, staff or visitors were exposed to any additional risk.

The inquiry was ordered by the Trust board of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust in April in response to concerns raised by Dr Brambleby about the provision and specification of negative pressure rooms at NNUH.  

The inquiry panel concluded:

  • At no time since the hospital opened has any patient, member of staff or visitor been put at any extra risk
  • The national NHS specifications for isolation facilities were, and to some extent, remain inconsistent and lack detailed specification
  • Clinical Governance arrangements within the Trust were not robust enough and the Trust did not remedy the issues quickly enough 
  • There is no evidence of any fraud or corruption as per Dr Brambleby’s concerns about “possible fraud” and “corruption and complicity”  

David Wright, the non-executive director of the NNUH Trust who chaired the Inquiry, said: “Serious allegations have been raised and we have investigated the claims as exhaustively as we can. It is clear that no one was put at any additional risk by the negative pressure facilities and we have seen no evidence of any fraud or corruption”  

“However there were failings in terms of the NHS’s lack of clear, consistent guidelines for isolation facilities and this needs to be considered nationally. It is also the case that the Trust did not move quickly enough to remedy the situation and more needs to be done to foster a strong Clinical Governance culture throughout the Trust.”    

Norwich PCT chairman Sue Gale said: “We are pleased the inquiry is complete and that it has been established that no one was put at any extra risk at any time.  We are fully satisfied that the inquiry has been rigorous and that the matter is now closed as far as Norwich PCT is concerned.”    

The inquiry team, chaired by David Wright, was composed of Health Protection Agency consultant microbiologist Dr Mark Farrington and Gloria Milne, non executive director at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The inquiry team considered expert evidence from consulting engineers and experienced clinical experts from across the region.  

Wednesday 15th of September 2004 10:00:54 AM