Frequently asked questions on how to make a complaint
What type of doctors can complaints be made against?
The Medical Council can consider a complaint about any medical doctor registered in Ireland. This includes doctors working in all branches of medicine, including hospital and general practice. The Medical Council can only look into complaints where a doctor’s fitness to practise is called into question.
The Medical Council can only review complaints on the following grounds:
Do I need to instruct a solicitor if I wish to make a complaint?
It is not necessary to instruct a solicitor. However, the Medical Council will accept a complaint made on your behalf from a solicitor. It is important to note, once a complaint goes to a Fitness to Practise Inquiry, the CEO becomes the complainant; however, you may be called as a witness.
Will my complaint be provided to the doctor?
The Council is obliged to tell the doctor when a complaint is made about them. The Council will provide the doctor with a copy of the complaint and the doctor will be given the opportunity to respond. All information obtained during the course of the investigation will also be sent to the doctor.
How long does the Preliminary Proceedings Committee complaints procedure take?
It can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months from the date of receipt of the complaint for the Preliminary Proceedings Committee to make a decision in relation to a complaint. However, depending on the complexity of the complaint, it can longer than the time period specified.
Can you complain about two or more doctors at a time?
Yes, a complaint can be filed against multiple doctors. However, this is treated and processed as one complaint. You do not have to submit individual complaints for individual doctors.
What does my case officer do?
The case officer is your point of contact throughout the complaints process. The case officer informs you of the progress of your complaint and if they require any additional documentation or information. The case officer will also inform you of decisions made about the complaint and the outcome.
Case officers are trained investigators in the areas of regulatory law, fair procedures and investigative and interviewing techniques. The role of the case officer is neutral and independent and they have no part in the Preliminary Proceedings Committee's (PPC) decision making process.
What other bodies can my complaint be transferred to?
Complaints can be transferred to another body/ authority if the complaint isn’t within the jurisdiction of the Medical Council to investigate. At times, the complaint may refer to an employer or hospital rather than the doctor. Complaints can also be made to:
Healthcomplaints.ie provides information on how to make a complaint; this informative website can help when considering whom your complaint needs to be submitted to.
Patient support groups are also available to assist you in making a complaint to the relevant body.
What information do I need to provide when I'm making a complain?
In order for the Preliminary Proceedings Committee to fully consider your complaint, it is important that you provide documentation such as contemporaneous notes, reports, diary entries, medical records, photographs etc. to the case officer assigned to your complaint.
Does a doctor still need to be registered to make a complaint?
Doctors must be registered to practise medicine in Ireland for a complaint to be filed against them.
Are there time limits when making a complaint?
No a complaint can be submitted at any time.
Can I withdraw a complaint?
Yes, a complaint can be withdrawn by the complainant. However, the Medical Council may decide the complaint needs to be investigated further. If the complaint enters into the fitness to practise inquiry stage, you may be asked to participate as a witness and it is your legal obligation to do so.
I’m not sure if my complaint is professional or criminal?
If you have serious concerns relating to a doctors fitness to practise medicine, the complaint should be made to the Medical Council. If there is any criminal element to the nature of the complaint, you should immediately contact the Garda Síochána.
Can special accommodations be made for witnesses at Fitness to Practise Inquiries?
Yes, we can facilitate special accommodations on a case by case basis. We would ask that you inform the Council before the inquiry so arrangements can be made, if feasible. Arrangements including translators and sign language interpreter can be made.
View the the Fitness to Practise Inquiry room