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Dr Michael Watt expresses 'sincere sympathies' to patients

Consultant neurologist Dr Michael Watt

THE consultant at the centre of Northern Ireland's biggest patient recall has offered his "sincere sympathy" to those affected.

Dr Michael Watt, a consultant neurologist who was based at the Royal Victoria Hospital for 20 years, remains suspended after almost 3000 of his former patients were re-assessed last year due to "safety concerns" about his works.

It has emerged that more than 600 of this group may have been given an unreliable or "unsecure" diagnosis while there is "uncertainty" in relation to a further 300 cases.

The figures were leaked to The Irish News last week and are contained in an "outcomes report" that was due to be published by the Department of Health in June.

This was cancelled however due to "unforeseen circumstances".

Patients with epilepsy, stroke and Parkinson's Disease were among those treated by the Belfast doctor.

In a statement released to the BBC on the back of its Spotlight programme which reported that Dr Watt carried out hundreds of unnecessary procedures, the consultant said: "Patient care has always been of the utmost importance to me and the key focus throughout my career.

"I have always sought to act in the best interests of my patients.

"Current investigations have highlighted concerns over the security of a number of my patients' diagnoses. I recognise the considerable distress these events have caused and I can only express my sincere sympathy to any of my patients affected as a result."

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