Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has welcomed the publication of a report on the neurology recall, but has warned that the Department of Health has still fundamental questions to answer.
Roy Beggs said:
“This publication is welcome, but long overdue. It should never have taken this long.
“This has been a deeply distressing experience for many of the patients. Yet as the weeks and months began to pass, the uncertainty was not alleviated.
“Whilst over 2,000 of the 2,952 patients assessed by the reviewing clinicians had a diagnosis that was considered to be secure, that means almost a third of the others were not given the reassurance that they deserved. A high proportion, over 20%, had been given an unsecured diagnosis by Dr Watt - a diagnosis which could not be agreed by other neurologists reviewing his patients.
“These mistakes, or in many cases misdiagnoses, were not some administrative error – in some cases patients lives were turned upside down and the welfare of some patients had been placed at risk.
“I still simply cannot understand how it was possible that when concerns were first raised in December 2016, it took until May 2018 for patients to be notified that they had potentially been misdiagnosed. Some of those affected would have been receiving the wrong treatment for a considerable length of time.
“In the 18 months since, patients and the public have had to endure delay after delay. If there was a local Minister in place I am certain that this report would not have taken as long.”