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Systems and processes failed neurologist’s patients, inquiry finds

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Systems and processes in place around patient safety failed in terms of the work of a Belfast-based neurologist, an inquiry has found.

Dr Michael Watt was at the centre of Northern Ireland’s largest ever recall of patients, which began in 2018, after concerns were raised about his clinical work.

More than 4,000 of his former patients attended recall appointments.

Almost a fifth of patients who attended recall appointments were found to have received an “insecure diagnosis”.

The final report following the Independent Neurology Inquiry found that problems with Dr Watt’s practice were missed for years and opportunities to intervene were lost.

It makes 76 recommendations to the Department of Health, healthcare organisations, General Medical Council and the independent sector.

“While one process or system failure may not be critical, the synergistic effect of numerous failures ensured that a problem with an individual doctor’s practice was missed for many years and, as this inquiry finds, opportunities to intervene, particularly in 2006/2007, 2012/2013, and earlier in 2016 were lost,” the inquiry found.

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Source: The Independent, 21 June 2022

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