Independent Neurology Inquiry Implementation Plan Published

31st July 2023

Department of Health press statement.

The Department of Health has published an overarching Independent Neurology Inquiry (INI) Implementation Plan, in response to the INI Report which was published on 21 June 2022.

The Department accepts that the events which led to the recall of patients of Dr Michael Watt, a former consultant neurologist, let many patients and their families down and once again wishes to apologise unreservedly for the distress this has caused. The Department also wishes to express thanks to the patients, families, Charities and Patient Support Groups for their support and engagement and would like to acknowledge their resilience throughout this difficult time.

The Department of Health’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Peter May said: “Patients rightly expect and deserve safe care and treatment from our health service.

“The Independent Neurology Inquiry Report published last year highlighted serious failings within our health service but also acknowledged that changes have been initiated since the neurology recall to improve patient safety.

“The INI Implementation plan recognises this progress, while also setting out the additional improvements to health and social care systems that are required to further mitigate the risk of these types of incidents occurring again. The Department of Health is committed to overseeing the implementation of this significant programme of work and will work in partnership with our stakeholders to take forward each of the recommendations.

“Patients and patient safety will be at the forefront of all this work and we will undertake further engagement with those affected as we move forward.”

This overarching INI Implementation Plan is intended to provide a high-level structure which will be supported further by a detailed Action Plan and robust Assurance Framework, which are currently in development.

An Inquiries Implementation Programme Board, chaired by the Permanent Secretary, has been established to oversee this programme of work and the Healthcare Organisations, the General Medical Council and Independent Healthcare Providers are committed to working together with the Department of Health to ensure that the INI Report is implemented.

Mr May concluded: “Implementation of all recommendations will be subject to formal, standardised and robust assessment which will examine evidence of implementation and impact against the assurance framework. We will report on further progress in the autumn.”

The Department is committed to further engagement throughout this programme of work and will continue to engage with stakeholders as this work progresses.

Feedback or comments on the INI Implementation Plan are welcomed, which will further support the development of the Action Plan and Assurance Framework. If you would like to provide any feedback or comments on the INI Implementation Plan, please do so by emailing no later than 18th August 2023. 

The Independent Neurology Inquiry Implementation Plan is available on the Department of Health website.