News & Insights: Healthcare

Health Minister’s Statement on the Independent Neurology Recall Inquiry

10 June 2022

The Health Minister, Robin Swann MLA, has announced the publication of the “Neurology Recall: Cohort 3 Activity and Outcomes Report” accompanied by the “Neurology Recall Cohort 1,2 and 3 Summary Report” and has also provided updates regarding (i) the work undertaken in relation to the management of clinical negligence claims brought by patients who have suffered otherwise avoidable injuries and (ii) the RQIA Deceased Patients Review.

In summary, the findings of the Cohort 3 Outcomes Report are that of the further 495 former patients of Dr Watt who were assessed, 380 had a diagnosis which was considered to be “secure” and 87 had a diagnosis which was considered “not secure”. In addition, for 28 patients there was “uncertainty” in respect of whether the previous diagnosis was secure.

The Neurology Recall Summary Report also notes that combining the average percentage over Cohorts 1,2 and 3, approximately 1 in 5 patients who were reviewed as part of the Recall process were found to have a diagnosis which was “not secure” with broadly similar outcomes in respect of an appropriate management plan and prescribing.

Mr Swann has also acknowledged the “exceptionally difficult and frustrating circumstances” which patients and families involved in the Recall process have experienced and has offered an unreserved apology for the hurt caused.

In relation to the processing of ongoing clinical negligence claims associated with the Recall process, Mr Swann has acknowledged that such claims are very complex in nature and that “It is only fair that each case is considered on its own merit and that claims are progressed as quickly as possible to provide claimants with compensation, in all appropriate cases.” He has further advised that a streamlined pathway has been developed to deliver this and the Department of Health will liaise with The Patient and Client Council (PCC) in providing further support to patients and their families. A dedicated Neurology Recall Legal Team is also now in place again with the aim of streamlining the litigation process.

In relation to the RQIA Deceased Patients Review, Mr Swann has indicated that the final reports are expected to be submitted to the Department of Health by the end of June 2022 and further decisions regarding next steps will also be communicated at the earliest opportunity.

We very much welcome the above updates and acknowledgements made and continue to make significant progress in the resolution of claims pursued on behalf of a significant number of Dr Watt’s former patients and indeed, also by families of a number of deceased patients.

To view the Minister’s Full Written Statement, click here:

doh-wms-090622.pdf (

  • Share