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FREEPHONE.: 0800 917 0222
FREEPHONE: 0800 917 0222

Neurology Engagement Platform

We established the Neurology Engagement Platform in 2020 in response to the Independent Neurology Inquiry (INI).

It was developed to provide a setting for communication on matters connected to the Neurology Recall and the Neurology Service Review. 

The Engagement Platform connects patients and families affected by the INI with decision-makers within relevant statutory organisations involved in this complex process.  Ensuring the voice of patients, carers and families are heard, at all stages of this process, is at the heart of the Neurology Engagement Platform.  The PCC can also provide One to One advocacy support where needed.

The Neurology Engagement Platform is made up of former patients of Dr Watt and relatives of deceased patients of Dr Watt. PCC has connected the members with various statutory organisations such as the Department of Health (DoH) and the Permanent Secretary, RQIA and GMC. Ensuring our members’ voice and lived experiences are heard so they can influence decisions before they are made, and be involved in the planning for the future of Neurology services across Northern Ireland.

Whilst the focus previously centred on INI matters and ensuring the members voices have been heard by the right statutory organisation that can affect the desired change, in 2024, we will have a focus on the future of neurology services in Northern Ireland. The drive is to ensure this is a service that meets the needs of our wider community. This will include, but not limited to, the implementation of the 76 recommendations from the INI.

Key highlights 2023

  • Dedicated Meeting where members had the opportunity to discuss matters directly with the DoH Permanent Secretary, Peter May.
  • Opportunity to provide feedback on the DoH’s draft Overarching Implementation Plan.
  • PCC has advocated for our members to be given the opportunity to be involved in the co-production of the implementation of INI recommendations. DoH has agreed to consult with members of the platform on the assurance of how the recommendations will be implemented.

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.

January 2021 – Letter from INI Chairperson to PCC

INI Chairman’s Statement 

March 2021 – B Lockhart QC to V McConvey PCC

Please also see: Operation Begrain | PSNI re: Detectives from PSNI Major Investigation Team launched Operation Begrain, an investigation into the clinical practices of Michael Watt, former Consultant Neurologist on Tuesday, 28th November 2023.

March 2024

Department of Health published the Independent Neurology Inquiry (INI) Action Plan, outlining how the 76 recommendations of the Independent Neurology Inquiry Report are being addressed.

The Plan can be found on the Department of Health’s website.

July 2023

The Independent Neurology Inquiry (INI) Implementation Plan was published. It is an overarching in response to the INI Report which was published in June 2022. Further details can be found on the Department of Health’s website.

April 2023

The Department of Health published an Addendum to the Neurology Recall Cohort 3 Activity and Outcomes Report and Neurology Recall Summary Report. The report can be accessed of the Department of Health’s website.

January 2023

The Belfast Trust issued a Neurology Recall Compensation Update. The Belfast Trust confirmed to patients impacted by the Neurology Recall that they have until 21st June 2025 if they intend to issue legal proceedings against the Trust.

June 2022

Click the following link to view the report of the Independent Neurology Inquiry Independent Neurology Inquiry

Minister Swann announced the publication for the neurology recall cohort 3 activities and outcomes report, neurology recall summary report and neurology compensation arrangements. The statement can be accessed through this link Neurology recall reports issued | Department of Health

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.

November 2021

The Professional Standards Authority filed an appeal against the decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal of the General Medical Council (‘the Tribunal’) granting voluntary erasure to Dr Michael Watt. Further details can be found by visiting Authority appeals Medical Practitioners Tribunal decision – Michael Watt

July 2021

The Inquiry Chairman provided an update in relation to the Inquiry’s work. Further details can be found by visiting Inquiry Chairman provides an update – 26th July 2021

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