Fermanagh woman ‘in limbo’ after Dr Watt’s suspension

Dr Watt

The Royal Victoria Hospital where Dr Watt saw patients

A FERMANAGH-based patient of Belfast neurologist Dr Michael Watt says she is extremely worried that she may have been misdiagnosed and feels “left in limbo”.
The grandmother is one of 137 patients within the Western Trust area recalled as part of a review into the work of the neurology consultant at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
Since May, more than 2,500 neurology patients in the North have been recalled, amid fears some patients may have been treated incorrectly.
The patients had attended Dr Watt’s clinics at the Royal Victoria Hospital and privately at the Ulster Independent Clinic and in Hillsborough. It is the biggest ever patient recall in the Belfast Health Trust and is taking place over 12 weeks.  The Department of Health this week revealed that 2,144 patients out of the 2,500 in this phase of the recall have been seen to date.
The Fermanagh woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, suffers from a brain condition that results in seizures. She had been a patient of Dr Watt for 16 years and has been stunned by the concerns surrounding him.
“I never had any problems with him,” she told the Herald this week. “He was always so plausible, knew his patients and took time to communicate with them.
“As soon I received the recall letter I made an appointment for a retest at the end of May. There is no consistency as within one week I ended up having three different scans at three Belfast hospitals.
“I have been designated a new female consultant who I have found to be rather dismissive of my concerns. It feels like the last 16 years of my illness have never happened and that they have been consigned to the bin.”
The woman says she won’t be seen now until August 20th, three months after first learning about the recall.
“That’s a very long time to wait when you’re very worried and stressed out. It looks as if I have another serious medical condition but I have been left in limbo because there’s no information. Even my GP isn’t getting any details so I don’t know where I stand,” she said.
The Department has directed the RQIA to undertake a review of governance of outpatient services in the Belfast Trust with a particular focus on neurology services. A panel led by Brett Lockhart QC will review the process initiated by the trust in December 2016 in relation to the concerns raised about the clinical practice of Dr Watt.

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