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November 2023

Deceased Patient Records Review (Dr Watt): Next Phase

Since the publication of the Report on the Expert Review of Records of Deceased Patients (Neurology) in November 2022, RQIA has continued to take forward the recommendations made by the Expert Panel and the actions set out by the Authority.  This includes ensuring the findings of the Review are shared and that we strengthen how we review and inspect services.

In October 2023, RQIA’s Chief Executive and Clinical Lead attended the Northern Ireland Assembly’s All Party Group for Neurology to provide an update on the Review, and the actions being taken forward by RQIA.

Families of a further 15 deceased patients of Dr Watt have already approached RQIA, expressing an interest in having their relative's clinical records included in a further phase of the Review.

We are now engaging with these families to provide information on what a review of the clinical record of a deceased patient can potentially provide, and about its limitations.  We are also providing information from the feedback received through an independent evaluation of the process from many of the 44 families, about the personal impact such a review process can have on family members.

Families of deceased patients of Dr Watt who wish to contact RQIA to explore involvement in the process are welcome to do so.


  • phone on Freephone number 0800 052 0012 between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, to speak to a member of our Family Liaison Team; or leave a voice message and our Family Liaison Team will get back to you
  • email us at expert.review@rqia.org.uk;
  • use our ‘Contact Us’ form to send us your contact details.

February 2023

The Department of Health has recently published support materials for patients and families involved in the neurology recall.  You can access these support materials and a series of frequently asked questions on the Department’s website: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/articles/neurology-recall-compensation

November 2022

On 29 November 2022, RQIA published the Report on the Expert Review of Records of Deceased Patients (Neurology).  You can read this report here.

Update to NI Assembly Health Committee

You can read RQIA's recent statement to the Health Committee (24 March 2022) in relation to this review here.

Background to this Review

On 1 May 2018, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (Belfast Trust) announced a recall of 2,500 patients in relation to concerns regarding the clinical practice of Dr Watt, a consultant neurologist employed by the Belfast Trust.

On 2 May 2018, the Permanent Secretary to the Department of Health announced the establishment of an Independent Neurology Inquiry, chaired by Brett Lockhart QC.  The Health Minister converted this inquiry to a Statutory Public Inquiry on 11 December 2020, under the Inquiries Act 2005.

The Permanent Secretary also directed the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), Northern Ireland’s regulatory body for health and social care, to: