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Department of Health publishes terms of reference for Dr Watt inquiry

The terms of reference have been set for the independent inquiry into the Belfast Trust's handling of complaints concerning neurologist Dr Michael Watt.

The trust last month announced a recall of 2,500 patients treated by Dr Watt- the biggest recall of its kind in Northern Ireland.

The inquiry will review the circumstances which led to the recall of patients in May. This will include the communication and escalation of the reporting of issues related to concerns about patient care and safety.

It will review the trust's handling of complaints or concerns identified or received prior to November 2016.

The inquiry will also seek to identify what can be learnt from the scandal.

The inquiry panel comprises its chairman Brett Lockhart QC and Dr Hugo Mascie-Taylor.

Mr Lockhart today said: “I very much welcome the finalisation of the terms of reference and, in particular, the involvement of Dr Hugo Mascie-Taylor, who has significant experience in clinical governance.

“I am conscious of the level of public interest and concern and a preliminary report will be produced as soon as practicable with the final report issued on the completion and review of all other relevant actions initiated by the Department.”

Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly said: “I am pleased that the terms of reference have been finalised to the satisfaction of the two panel members.

"The Department is very grateful to Mr Lockhart and Dr Mascie-Taylor for agreeing to carry out this vital work.

“I expect full co-operation with the panel inquiry’s work right across the health and social care system. I would also ask that the panel be given the time and space to carry out its work.”


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