Belfast Telegraph

More than 200 people yet to contact Trust after patient recall

By Victoria Leonard

More then 200 people affected by the Dr Michael Watt patient recall have not yet contacted the Belfast Trust to make a review appointment - more than three weeks after the recall commenced.

The Belfast Trust yesterday revealed that it has reviewed just over a fifth of the patients affected by the recall of the neurologist's patients.

The trust has identified more than 2,500 patients as requiring review, with 511 people reviewed as of Thursday. A further 1,780 people have made appointments.

The trust said it had written to all patients involved in the recall, and is "actively contacting" those who haven't yet responded to make an appointment "via phone or through their GP".

During a briefing at the Department of Health (DoH) last week, it was stated that up to 700 private patients might need to be recalled from the Ulster Independent Clinic (UIC) and Hillsborough Private Clinic. It was understood that the majority would be from the UIC.

However, yesterday, a spokesperson for the UIC said that it now expected "fewer than 150 people" who had seen Dr Watt at its clinic to be reviewed.

He said the UIC had been working with the Belfast Trust, the Health and Social Care Board and Department of Health to identify Dr Watt's patients under active review, exclusively in his private practice at the clinic.

And the UIC, whose efforts to trace patients were previously hampered by Dr Watt retaining the files of the private patients he treated there, revealed it has now obtained the notes. He said: "At this time, we are still validating the data to determine how many people under Dr Watt's care at the UIC need to be seen, as some of our patients may already have secured appointments with the Belfast Trust.

"We are nearing the end of this complex process and with the assistance of Dr Watt's patient files we now expect that fewer than 150 people will be contacted and offered a consultation with another consultant neurologist. These patients will begin to receive letters detailing the next steps from next week."

The spokesperson added that the clinic was trying to facilitate the consultations within a 12-week period, in line with the Belfast Trust's recall time-scale.

He said that it was moving as quickly as possible to address patients' concerns.

Belfast Telegraph

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