Sinn Féin spokesperson for health Colm Gildernew has commended the courage and determination of victims of the Neurology Scandal and he said that the failures of the health system to end their suffering earlier was shocking and appalling.
Speaking after the publication of the Independent Neurology Inquiry into the recall of over 5,000 patients – the biggest recall of patients ever in the north – Colm Gildernew said:
“What we heard today in the report from the chair of the Independent Neurology Inquiry Brett Lockhart about the failures in the health system which led to thousands of neurology patients being misdiagnosed and mistreated by Dr Michael Watt over many years was both shocking and appalling.
“Multiple opportunities to bring the suffering of these patients to an end were missed, prolonging their suffering for years.
“The courage and determination of those neurology patients is remarkable.
“They deserve to know how the failures in their care were allowed to happen and continue on, often for years, unchecked and unaddressed by the Belfast Trust.
“This has had profound effects on their lives, their livelihoods and their families, and some of those affected have since passed away.
“Today must mark the beginning of work to address these system failures so that neurology patients, and patients in other areas of health, receive the care they need and deserve from those they put their trust in to deliver it.
“These patients have had to wait too long for the right diagnosis and care, and while time must be taken to study the findings and recommendations of the Independent Panel report in detail they must not endure long waits for the compensation and redress they deserve.
“The families are also calling for accountability given there were so many red flags in the system about their mistreatment and misdiagnosis.
“The Minister of Health must act to provide clarity and support for victims to access the redress and compensation they deserve and avoid patients having to face long legal proceedings going forward.”