Michael Watt: Thompsons Northern Ireland representing victims of disgraced Belfast neurologist
A recent review commissioned by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) and conducted by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) found that 44 patients who died under the care of former neurology consultant, Dr Michael Watt, were the victims of “significant failures in treatment”.
The latest review follows two separate recalls of more than 4,000 of Dr Watt’s former patients from both the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and the privately-run Ulster Independent Clinic.
Dr Watt practiced for more than 20 years at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland. Following concerns about misdiagnoses, the trust recalled more than 2,500 of his patients for checks in May 2018.
Three reviews were then commissioned - one examining the medical records of deceased patients, and two exploring the governance arrangements in place at the Belfast Trust and in private hospitals. The initial recall was subsequently extended in October 2018 to cover a further 1,044 patients, with a further recall of 19 patients in August 2022.
A review in April 2021 investigating 927 of Dr Watt's "high-risk" patients, found that around 20 per cent of them were misdiagnosed.
In October 2021 Dr Watt was removed from the General Medical Council (GMC) register, at his own request.
Following the latest review, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has said that they are considering the findings of all the reviews and investigations into Dr Watt's conduct, before determining whether to pursue a formal inquiry.
Thompsons Northern Ireland’s four former patients of Dr Watt were recalled in 2018 and August 2022.
At Thompsons we have a proud history of representing and campaigning alongside victims of medical negligence and malpractice. We acted on behalf of hundreds of victims of rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson, who was jailed in 2017 for wounding patients with intent.
He’s now serving a 20-year prison sentence and our campaign arising from that - patients before profits - continues.
Following Paterson, patients of other surgeons who carried out unnecessary operations or performed negligent medical procedures have come forward. Thompsons is representing ex-patients of Bristol-based colorectal surgeon, Tony Dixon, as well as shoulder surgeons Habib Rahman and Michael Walsh, who all operated at Spire Healthcare hospitals.
Oonagh McClure, regional managing partner and a senior medical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Northern Ireland, said: “At Thompsons NI we only ever act for the victims of injury never for those who cause harm, or their insurers and we are proud to be ensuring that these four ex-patients of Dr Watt get the best service and the maximum possible compensation.
“When someone seeks medical treatment from a healthcare professional, they should receive a level of care that reflects the expertise they sought – and no one should be exposed to a breach of duty of care from either a nurse, doctor, or in this case, a surgeon.
“We would encourage those who believe they may have been a victim of Dr Watt, at any time, to come forward and seek compensation for their injuries. We are uniquely committed to those who have been harmed and will ensure any victim of Watt gains the justice they deserve and help them secure the maximum compensation.”
Get in touch
If you or a family member think you may have been a victim of Michael Watt, read more and get in touch with our solicitors in Northern Ireland here.
Concerned about negligent medical treatment or diagnoses? Talk to us for advice and support today.
Our discreet and compassionate medical negligence solicitors are experienced in the full range of medical injury claims and will work with you to establish whether you have a medical negligence compensation claim.
If you, or a loved one, think you have suffered medical negligence, such as a birth injury (for example, a cerebral palsy diagnosis following a difficult birth), misdiagnosis (such as cancer misdiagnosis), or suffered negligence during an operation contact us for advice.
If the incident happened more than three years ago, you will usually not be able to make a claim for compensation. However, exceptions do apply – such as instances where you could not have reasonably known your symptoms were caused by clinical negligence, or cases involves adults who lack legal capacity or children – so contact us for advice.
For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.