A new fitness to practise hearing for the doctor at the centre of Northern Ireland’s biggest patient recall has been announced for September.

UK Fitness to Practise News previously reported that a decision to allow a neurologist to voluntarily remove himself from the medical register is due to be re-listed before a new independent tribunal.

Dr Michael Watt, Consultant Neurologist, was at the centre of the large patient recall by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust accused of carrying out hundreds of unnecessary procedures. Over a seven-year period between 2009 and 2017, Dr Watt performed 261 blood patches, of which more than 160 were carried out in 2015 and 2016.

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In March, 2023 the High Court upheld a legal challenge from two previous patients.  This meant the matter was remitted to a new and independent tribunal.

According to a BBC report, a new fitness to practise hearing has been announced for September. The hearing will be held over two separate weeks starting in September and again in October.

Former patient Danielle O’Neill told BBC News NI that while she welcomed this fresh development, families are extremely disappointed that patients will not be involved in this hearing.

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