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140 still to be traced in Belfast trust Dr Watt patient recall

The Department of Health says it has still to trace around 140 people for the Dr Michael Watt patient recall.

Earlier this month it was announced The Belfast Health Trust was to recall over 2,500 patients following an independent review of patient notes relating to the work of Dr Watt.

It is the largest patient recall in the history of Northern Ireland.

Dr Watt is currently not treating patients though he remains an employee of the Belfast Trust.

The Trust apologised and said it had set up special clinics to cope with the number of people affected and intended to see them all within the next 12 weeks.

Details of the recalled patient appointments will not be available until enough data has been studied to allow the Trust to reach "meaningful conclusions".

They said that the "full picture" of new diagnoses and treatments will not be made public until the end of the recall process.

A compensation scheme is currently being drawn up for those affected by the recall and an independent inquiry will be held into the Trust's handling of complaints relating to Dr Watt.

The Department of Health revealed the latest recall appointment figures on Thursday.

"Between 1 May and 30 May 2018, 678 people have been seen as part of the recall. A further 1,650 appointments have been booked for people to be seen over coming weeks," a Department spokesperson said.

"The Belfast Trust continues to seek to contact the remaining patients, approximately 140, who have yet to respond to the recall. That will include contact by phone and through GPs if required.

"Small numbers of recalled patients have either declined appointments or not attended their booked clinics. A further small number has requested and been given appointments outside the 12 week period."

Anyone caught up in the recall has the right to request an appointment even if they miss the deadline.

"The Belfast Trust advises that those who have not yet responded to the recall process may still secure an appointment if they contact the Trust by  15 June," the spokesperson said.

"After that, free appointment slots will be used for those recalled patients requiring follow-up appointments.

"Any patient making contact after this date will be seen no later than 12 weeks from the date of making contact."

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