Making Complaints

What do you do if you have a problem in a hospital or with a health professional and you want to make a complaint?

Each case is individual and most can be resolved at early stages. We are open to talking with about your difficulty in a confidential manner. You can contact us for a listening ear and advice on how to proceed if necessary. We outline below the normal processes involved in making a complaint.

HSE Hospital/Institution

The HSE has a complaints process that is governed by Part 9 of the Health Act 2004 and regulations that were made as a result. This process states that complaints if not resolved locally should be made in writing to the Complaints Officer in the institution concerned. You should get an acknowledgment within 5 working days. The complaint should be investigated within 30 working days. If the investigation is incomplete at that time you should receive a progress report and updates every 20 working days.

If you are unhappy with the report of the investigation you may request an Internal Review of your complaint. This is where the original decision is reviewed by someone independent of the original decision and a report should be received within 20 working days. An application for such a review should be lodged with the Head of Consumer Affairs in the HSE within 30 working days of the original investigation report being received. Further details on the HSE complaints process is available from www.hse.ie/eng/services/ysys

If you are unhappy with the outcome of an Internal Review you can request a review by the Ombudsman. An application for such a review should be made to the Office of the Ombudsman, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. www.ombudsman.gov.ie

Return to top

Private Hospitals

If you have a complaint with a Private Hospital you should write directly to the Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital concerned outlining in detail your concerns and areas of complaint. Many of these hospitals have individual policies on dealing with complaints and you should be able to obtain a copy from the hospital concerned on request.

Return to top

General Practitioners (GPs)

If you have a complaint with a GP you should in the first instance seek to resolve it locally with the GP. If you are a Medical Card Holder you could also write with details to the local health office of the HSE. If you are a private patient you may also have to give consideration to referring the matter to the Medical Council.

Return to top

Medical Council

If you wish to make a complaint in the case where you feel that a Medical Practitioner may have done something that amounts to Professional Misconduct or poor Professional Performance you may make a complaint to the Medical Council. The complaint should be made in writing and set out clearly the conduct of the doctor that you believe amounts to misconduct or poor professional performance. Your correspondence will be put before a Preliminary Proceedings Committee who will seek a response from the Medical practitioner concerned and then decide if the matter should be referred to a Fitness to practice hearing. Further details are available from www.medicalcouncil.ie/Professional-Standards/Making-a-Complaint-/

Return to top

Bord Altranais (Nursing Board)

If you wish to make a complaint about the conduct of a Nurse you can apply to the Fitness to Practice Committee of An Bord Altranais for an inquiry into the fitness of a nurse to practice nursing on the grounds of (a) alleged professional misconduct or (b) alleged unfitness to engage in such practice by reason of physical or mental disability.

Once a complaint has been received, An Bord Altranais will ensure that the nurse/midwife is a registered nurse / midwife with An Bord Altranais as complaints can only be made against registered nurses/midwives. Once you have identified the grounds upon which the complaint is being made the letter of complaint is sent to the nurse/midwife for their comments in relation to the complaint.

When all the correspondence is received, the documentation is forwarded to the Fitness to Practice Committee to consider whether or not there is a prima facie case for holding an inquiry. Further details are available from www.nursingboard.ie/en/reporting_misconduct.aspx

Return to top

Dental Council

If you wish to make a complaint against a Dentist further details are available from www.dentalcouncil.ie

Return to top

Pharmacists

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) is a statutory body, established under the Pharmacy Act 2007 as the pharmacy regulator. It is charged with regulating the practice and profession of pharmacy. All pharmacies must be registered with it by January 2009. The Society's goal is the promotion of patient safety and public health, and its primary responsibility is to the general public. If you wish to make a complaint against a Pharmacist you can obtain further details from www.pharmaceuticalsociety.ie

Return to top

Quick Links

1. HSE Hospital/Institution
2. Private Hospitals
3. GPs
4. Medical Council
5. Bord Altranais (Nursing Board)
6. Dental Council
7. Pharmacistsl

Printable versions:

Download a printable pdf of this page here
(Adobe Acrobat Required. Get it here)