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Open letter from NHSGGC chairman regarding renaming of Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The official opening of the new hospitals by The Queen was an historic and proud occasion for the City and in particular the staff of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and our patients. 

The smiles of delight from our staff who were excited to see and, in some cases meet The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, set the tone for the day. 

There were a number of key reasons why the decision was taken to change the hospital’s name. 

Concerns had been expressed by senior clinical officers, which I understood, that the title ‘South Glasgow University Hospital’ did not properly represent the population served by the new hospital. The hospital is used by the western catchment area north of the river as well as many people outside the south of Glasgow and indeed patients from across the west of Scotland and nationally for some specialist services.  In listening to these views it was therefore considered important to recognise the wider population being served and remove the geographical term ‘South Glasgow'. 

In addition, we felt it was important to draw a stronger distinction between the name of the new hospital and the old Southern General.

Staff from the three adult hospitals which were closing were not simply moving to join colleagues at the Southern General.  The Southern General was also closing and its staff too were moving into the new hospital.

It was considered therefore that given this was an entirely new hospital it also required a new name and distinct identity. 

It was my hope that The Queen would be able to perform the official opening ceremony and, that if she was able to do so, adopting a Royal title would be wholly appropriate for this world-class facility which, together with Glasgow Royal Infirmary, provides the two major acute NHS inpatient facilities in Glasgow. 

Some people have asked why the new names were not consulted upon.  It is my strong belief that in doing so there would be an inevitable series of competing names resulting in inevitable disappointment for the supporters of those not chosen. 

The Royal names were considered by a range of senior staff and clinical leads including the Board Chief Executive, the six Chief Nurses and six Chief Medical Officers in Acute Services and a number of my Non Executive Board Member colleagues. 

I believe that being able to include the Head of State in the name of the new adult hospital is entirely fitting for one of the most modern and prestigious healthcare facilities anywhere in the UK or indeed Europe.

Andrew Robertson

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Chairman

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