People living with multiple sclerosis, and other neurological conditions, are among thousands of patients being recalled for case reviews. They were all treated by consultant neurologist Dr Michael Watt and the reviews have been triggered by fears of possible misdiagnosis.
I am shocked and horrified that the reviews are necessary but delighted that the powers that be are taking action. At least they are not letting the fears and concerns to be swept under the carpet.
The reviews involve more than 2,500 patients treated in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, UK. They were all diagnosed with neurological conditions that, as well as MS, include Parkinson’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease.
It is the biggest patient recall in Northern Ireland’s history.
Those concerns arose from an independent review of patient notes by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Royal College of Physicians. Health bosses have not been ruled out that the investigation could, at some point. cover people who have died under his care. Besides working for the trust, Dr Watt also practised at two private health clinics.
Other doctors raised concerns
Chair of Belfast Trust’s neurology division, Dr Mark Mitchelson 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.”
The hospital is setting up additional clinics, and is aiming to see all recalled patients within 12 weeks. Belfast Trust says it has contacted every patient it wants to review.
Anyone who may be worried and is seeking further support may call an advice line. The freephone telephone number is: 0800 980 1100 and lines will be open 9am – 9pm during the week and 9am – 5pm at weekends.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.
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