Belfast Trust has today recalled 2500 patients following an independent review of patient notes relating to the work of a single Consultant Neurologist Dr Michael Watt.
In a statement, the Belfast Trust said: “The action follows a review of patient notes by both the Trust and the Royal College of Physicians. The consultant is currently not treating patients.
“Dr Mark Mitchelson, Medical Chair of Division 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.
“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.”
The statement added that Belfast Trust has today contacted every patient we would like to review and we are asking patients to contact us so that an appointment can be made for them at a time that suits them.
“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. “
Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson, Roy Beggs MLA, has said urgent answers are needed as to why it took the Belfast Health Trust so long to order a patient recall.
UUP MLA Roy Beggs said the announcement by the Belfast Health Trust “will be worrying for every single patient and family who have been affected”.
“Serious questions need to be asked as to why exactly it has taken so long to get to this stage,” he added. “Concerns about the standard of diagnosis and treatments were first raised over 16 months ago and the consultant in question has not been seeing any patients since last June.
“It seems inexplicable to me therefore that it’s taken almost a further year for the review to conclude and for his previous patients to be told that they have potentially been misdiagnosed.”
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