The Patient Client Council is working with individuals, families and community and voluntary sector organisations in relation to the neurology recall.
The establishment of an Independent Neurology Inquiry was announced by the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health in May 2018. On the 11th December 2020, the Minister for Health Robin Swann MLA converted the Independent Neurology Inquiry from a non-statutory public inquiry to a statutory public inquiry. The Inquiry Panel will carry out an independent statutory inquiry of an inquisitorial nature. Brett Lockhart QC, Chairperson of the Neurology Inquiry has outlined within his statement (11th January 2021) details on the conversion and what that means for the workings of the inquiry and those affected by their work.
The Chairman has written to the Patient Client Council in relation to the Inquiry conversion to ensure that patients are aware of the changes brought about by the conversion and what it means for them.
For further information pertaining to the Independent Neurology Inquiry please visit https://www.neurologyinquiry.org.uk/news-centre/inquiry-chairman-provides-update-relation-inquiries-work-26th-july-2021
On 1 May 2018, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (Belfast Trust) announced a recall of 2,500 patients in relation to concerns regarding the clinical practice of Dr Watt, a consultant neurologist employed by the Belfast Trust. On 2 May 2018, the Permanent Secretary to the Department of Health announced the establishment of an Independent Neurology Inquiry to review the recall of neurology patients by the Belfast Trust. The Health Minister converted this inquiry to a Statutory Public Inquiry on 11 December 2020, under the Inquiries Act 2005.
In December 2019 the Department of Health published the Outcomes Report relating to the initial recall of approximately 2,500 Neurology patients and provided a commitment to consider anyone who had previously been seen by Dr Watt and discharged. A second recall was announced in October 2018 involving a further 1,044 patients. In the context that a significant proportion of the Cohort 2 patients did have an insecure diagnosis, the decision was made to review a third cohort of Dr Watt’s patients.
Over the past year the PCC has been engaging a number of these patients to support them to have their voices heard during this process. The primary purpose of this work is to enhance communication between the organisations tasked with progressing the various stages of the recall such as the Belfast Trust, the Health and Social Care Board and the Department of Health and the patients affected by it. We are working with community and voluntary sector charities through the NI Neurological Charity Alliance and with two patient support groups of around 200 patients represented by a small number of their chosen individuals. To date this work has been largely formed by ad hoc meetings that coincide with recall developments. However PCC’s focus is to develop a consistent Engagement Platform which will offer defined terms of reference to support the function of the forum with defined objectives. We will also ensure accountability for proportionate representation and improve communication to and with all stakeholders. Composition of the forum hopes to include individual and collective representation of patients, the community and voluntary sector, lobbying and advocacy groups, political representatives and the Patient Client Council.
If you have been affected by the Belfast Trust’s recall of neurology patients and would like to be connect into to this work please feel free to contact us on 0800 917 0222 for more information.