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Dr Watt's patients must be given adequate support

The recall of more than 2,000 patients under the care of Dr Michael Watt was unprecedented for the Northern Ireland health service but as the weeks pass, the serious issues of concern about his work have become more apparent.

A number of patients have spoken out in support of the consultant neurologist, who is based at the Royal Victoria Hospital but also worked in private practice.

But it is also clear that some of those called for review have received devastating news about their treatment and even their original diagnosis.

Among them is former taxi business owner Eamon Grogan, who was referred to Dr Watt five years ago suffering from a slight tremor.

He was prescribed high dosage medication usually given to Parkinson's disease patients and a private prescription for a £500 a month cannabis spray.

Mr Grogan, from north Belfast, says he has lost his home, his £1,000 a week job and his marriage and has become addicted to medication.

However, when he was recently recalled for assessment, a consultant told him that he had only a mild tremor, did not have Parkinson's and did not need any drug therapy.

Mr Grogan is understandably angry that his life has been ruined as a result of taking large amounts of powerful drugs for a condition he never had.

He has been discharged back to his GP and told to stop taking his medication, but the 44-year-old feels he has been 'cut loose' by the Belfast Trust.

The trust has issued an apology to Mr Grogan, saying it is 'truly sorry' for the upset caused but said it is satisfied that follow up arrangements 'are appropriate at this time.'

Plainly, Mr Grogan does not believe he has been given adequate support following the disturbing revelations about his treatment.

Unfortunately, he is not the only patient whose life has been turned upside down in the past two months.

The health authorities have a responsibility to provide information, care and support to every person affected.

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