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Dr Michael Watt: Private clinics vow to review all patients affected within weeks



Hillsborough Private Clinic where Dr Michael Watt practiced

Hillsborough Private Clinic where Dr Michael Watt practiced

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Hillsborough Private Clinic where Dr Michael Watt practiced

Two private health clinics linked to the doctor at the centre of the biggest patient recall in Northern Ireland's history have vowed to ensure all his patients on their books are reviewed within the coming weeks.

Last week the Belfast Trust recalled 2,500 of neurologist Dr Michael Watt's over concerns of how patients were diagnoses and treated. Of those people affected children as young as 14 are thought to have been involved.

Since the recall, patients have spoken out how their diagnosis affected their lives. The Department of Health has ordered a major review into the scandal.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health permanent secretary Richard Pengelly held discussions with two private sector clinics with links to neurologist Dr Michael Watt.

Mr Pengelly said: “I was very pleased to receive assurances from both organisations that they are focused on rapidly identifying the active patient list in respect of Dr Watt’s practice with them.

“Both Hillsborough Private Clinic and the Ulster Independent Clinic gave us an assurance that they will endeavour to ensure that all their patients are reviewed within the same 12 week target timescale established by Belfast Trust for its patients.

“For our part, I assured both organisations that in the event they have any difficulty achieving this target, we will work with them to offer whatever assistance we can.”

Meanwhile the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service has also imposed interim conditions on the neurologist.

It said he should not prescribe disease-modifying therapies for multiple sclerosis patients without prior discussion within, and the approval of, an appropriately constituted trust wide multi-disciplinary team. That he must also be closely supervised in all of his posts by a clinical supervisor and must not work as a locum. And he is only permitted to work in an NHS post or setting and must notify the GMC of any post he accepts before starting it.

Dr Watt remains an employee of the Belfast Trust although he has not worked with patients since June 2017.

Belfast Telegraph