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Video: 2,500 Northern Ireland patients recalled over Royal Victoria doctor's work

Trust 'truly sorry for anxiety cause'

Special clinics have been set up to deal with the thousands affected.
Special clinics have been set up to deal with the thousands affected.

The Belfast Health Trust is recalling 2,500 patients following an independent review of patient notes relating to the work of a single consultant neurologist.

The Trust said it was taking the action following a review of patient notes by both the Trust and the Royal College of Physicians into the work of , Dr Michael Watt. Review appointments have been offered to all patients affected to assure them they are getting the best treatment, the Trust said.

The consultant is currently not treating patients, the trust said although he remains an employee.

Concerns about patient diagnosis were raised in December 2016 by a GP.

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

Some of those affected are as young as 14 and the Trust has not ruled out the possibility some of those affected could be deceased.

Were you a patient of Dr Watt? Contact

Dr Mark Mitchelson, Medical Chair of Division at the Trust said: “I fully understand this will cause significant anxiety to many patients and their families and for that we are truly sorry. 

"Other doctors raised concerns with the Trust regarding the care and treatment provided by Dr Michael Watt to a small number of patients.

"As a result of our own review and a further review carried out by the Royal College of Physicians, we would like to invite a number of his patients back for a review appointment to assure them, their families, and ourselves that they are receiving the best treatment."

He continued: "The recall of such a large number of patients is so that we can be confident and thorough in ensuring that patients are having the best possible care. To ensure patients are seen as quickly as possible we have set up a large number of additional clinics and we intend to see all patients within the next twelve weeks. Again, we are truly sorry for the anxiety this will cause.”

Belfast Trust has contacted every patient for review and it is asking patients to get in touch to make an appointment.

For anyone who may be worried and is seeking further support, an advice line has been set up. The telephone number is: 0800 980 1100 and lines will be open weekdays from 9am – 9pm and weekends from 9am – 5pm.

The Royal College of Physicians in a statement added: "The review of the patient records by our team of clinical experts  confirmed patient safety concerns.

"The final report was issued to the Trust on 26 April 2018 and we will continue to monitor their work to implement the recommendations of our report. We have been encouraged by the approach the Trust is taking to ensure patients are proactively seen and are receiving care that is of a high standard."

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