Compensation scheme being drawn up following neurology patients recall

A compensation scheme is being drawn up for those identified by the most complex ever patient recall in Northern Ireland, a senior civil servant said.

Around 3,200 public and private former patients of Belfast-based neurologist Dr Michael Watt have been initially earmarked for review and others may be brought into the major probe.

A series of investigations including an independent inquiry led by a barrister have been established following concerns about work by the consultant.

Stormont Health Department permanent secretary Richard Pengelly said: "This can have profound implications for patients so at this stage I am commissioning some work within the department just to look at redress."

He said a range of options were under consideration for the compensation scheme.

A minister would need to sign off proposals and Stormont powersharing has been suspended for more than a year.

Mr Pengelly added: "We are learning the lessons of mistakes made in the past.

"Our response will not be, if someone comes forward and says I have had a profound life-changing event as a consequence of an error on your part, our response will not be to refer them to our solicitors and say see you in court."