Northern Ireland news

Planned patient recall over consultant's work 'raises alarms'

Craigavon Area Hospital. Picture by Hugh Russell.

A patient recall planned following concerns about a consultant's work "raises alarms", a member of the Stormont health committee has said.

The Irish News revealed yesterday that a high-level Southern Trust investigation into the care of urology patients at Craigavon Area Hospital began in the summer.

The consultant urologist at the centre of the probe retired in June but had worked at the hospital for a significant period.

Sinn Féin's Colm Gildernew, who sits on the Stormont health committee, said the recall "raises alarms about how our health and social care sector is operating".

A patient helpline is expected to be set up to deal with potentially hundreds of people treated by the consultant.

A trust spokeswoman confirmed an investigation is taking place due to "clinical concerns" about the senior medic's work.

She said a small number of patients had already been contacted and Department of Health officials are receiving updates on the "potential impact" on other cases.

Urology covers the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, prostate and reproductive organs.

Suspected prostate and kidney cancer patients are among those referred by their GP to a consultant urologist.

The department is currently subject to extensive waiting lists.

Health minister Robin Swann is expected to make an announcement in coming days on the urology recall and investigation, which is reported to be "comprehensive" but not yet concluded.

Mr Gildernew said: "This is an all-too familiar story with concerns arising about another potential failure in patient care and the lack of accountability we are seeing throughout the health care system.

"While we do not know the details of the review, it is very worrying that yet again patients' health and well-being is affected."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said it was being kept updated on the progress of the review and the potential impact on patients.

"If anyone is concerned and would like information please phone us on 0800 4148520 between 10am and 3pm."

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