Dr Michael Watt: A fifth of Belfast neurologist’s patients received ‘insecure diagnosis’

Around a fifth of former patients of Belfast-based neurologist Dr Michael Watt received an “insecure diagnosis”.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 11:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 11:59 am
Dr Michael Watt

An ongoing public inquiry is examining the work of the now retired neurologist.

Speaking in the Stormont Assembly, Health Minister Robin Swann said of the second cohort of Dr Watt’s patients to be reviewed, which involved 927 patients, 702 (75.7%) had a diagnosis that was considered to be secure, 181 (19.5%) had a diagnosis that was considered “not secure”, while for 44 (just under 5%) patients there was uncertainty in respect of whether the previous diagnosis was secure.

Mr Swann said it is important to note that a diagnosis which is considered to be not secure “does not automatically equate to a misdiagnosis”.

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“Other factors need to be considered. The patients involved have been advised of the outcome of their individual cases,” he said.

Mr Swann said that while a higher proportion of the second cohort of patients to be reviewed were assessed as having a secure diagnosis than for cohort one – almost 76% from 68% – there remained approximately one fifth of patients with an insecure diagnosis.

Meanwhile, the Belfast Health Trust has recalled a further 209 neurology patients in connection with the work of Dr Watt.

They are former patients of Dr Watt who were seen and discharged between 1996 and 2012, and who are taking certain prescribed medications for specific neurological conditions.