Belfast Telegraph

Dr Michael Watt patient recall: More than 2,100 patients seen by health service so far

Just over 85% of the neurology patients being reviewed as part of the largest recall ever in Northern Ireland have now been seen.

The Department of Health confirmed on Thursday that as of July 18, 2,144 of the 2,500 patients contacted had now been seen.

While the majority of recall patients have now been reassessed, information on the outcomes of recall assessments is only expected to be released once it has been reviewed by the Department of Health and it has drawn its own conclusions - something which is not expected in the immediate future.

Updated figures on the patients were released on Thursday after officials from the Department of Health met with political representatives.

The Department's permanent secretary Richard Pengelly said: "I want to place on record the Department’s sincere thanks for the huge effort and commitment made by the entire neurology team, those in the Independent Sector, the administrative staff, whose support has been phenomenal, including the Northern Ireland Neurological Charities Alliance.

“Everyone has worked tirelessly throughout this process, their willingness and absolute dedication has been unsurpassed in supporting patients through a complex patient recall and one that undoubtedly been distressing for many."

In attendance at the meeting was Sinn Fein's health spokesperson Pat Sheehan, who said it had been "useful" and had involved an account of "the complexity and challenges in the neurology recall process".

"The work of neurology services and all staff involved in the recall must be commended," he said.

"We are now coming to the end of the first phase of the Belfast Trust's recall of Neurology patients of Dr Michael Watt's and we pressed the department for detail on the outcomes of this 12-week process with regards to the rate of misdiagnosis and its plans moving forward with regards to discharged patients."

The update was given to Department officials and political representatives by consultant neurologist Dr John Craig.

Patients discharged are now in the care of their GPs, and have the ability to be re-referred to secondary care if their conditions change.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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