About the Medical Council
The Medical Council is responsible for the regulation of doctors in Ireland. Main responsibilities include:
- Protecting the public by promoting and ensuring the highest professional standards amongst doctors
- Maintaining the Register of Medical Practitioners
- Specifying and reviewing standards for the maintenance of professional competence
- Setting and monitoring standards for medical education, training, conduct and ethics
- Investigating complaints and instituting disciplinary procedures
Who can complain to the Medical Council?
Anyone can make a complaint to the Medical Council about a doctor. This includes members of the public, employers and other healthcare professionals. More information can be found in the Medical Council’s guide, “Making a complaint about a doctor” (pdf).
If you are making a complaint for another person, such as your husband or wife, partner, brother or sister, that person may need to consent to your making the complaint for them, as the complaint may include confidential medical information.
The complaints procedure
When the Medical Council receives a complaint about a doctor, the Preliminary Proceedings Committee of the Medical Council will look into the complaint.
The Preliminary Proceedings Committee looks into complaints made about a doctor (or doctors) on one or more of the following grounds:
- Professional Misconduct
- Poor Professional Performance
- A relevant medical disability
- A failure to comply with one or more condition(s) attached to a doctor’s registration
- A failure to comply with an undertaking given to the Medical Council or to take any action specified in a consent given in the context of a previous inquiry
- Contravention (infringement) of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007
- A conviction in the State for an offence triable on indictment or if convicted outside the State, for an offence that would be triable on indictment in the Irish courts.
The Preliminary Proceedings Committee may request further documentation or information from the person who made the complaint, the doctor or from other people involved such as the doctor’s employer or a hospital.
When the Preliminary Proceedings Committee is satisfied that it has enough information, it will then decide what action to take:
- If the Preliminary Proceedings Committee believes that there is a case to take further action it will refer the complaint to the Fitness to Practise Committee; or
- If the Preliminary Proceedings Committee decides not to refer the complaint to the Fitness to Practise Committee, it will give an opinion to the Medical Council that:
- it should take no further action; or
- the complaint should be referred to another body or authority or to the Medical Council’s professional competence scheme; or
- The complaint could be resolved by mediation or other informal methods.
What the Medical Council cannot do regarding your complaint
- Look into complaints about anyone who is not a registered doctor. In this regard the Medical Council cannot deal with complaints about nurses, pharmacists, dentists, opticians, social workers, hospitals, clinics or other healthcare organisations.
- Pay you compensation or help you make a claim for compensation.
- Give legal or professional advice or representation to people making complaints.
- Make a doctor apologise to you.
- Contact a doctor for you and ask him to do something such as provide the treatment that you want, write a prescription for you or give you access to your records.
- Give you a detailed explanation of what happened to you. This can only come from the doctor or health provider.
- Give or arrange medical treatment or counseling for you.
The legal framework for the Medical Council’s complaint procedures is set out in the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, which is linked below.
Can I complain about public or private care, or both?
The Medical Council accepts complaints against doctors working in public and private health care.
How do I make a complaint to the Medical Council?
Only written complaints can be dealt with by the Medical Council. In circumstances where you cannot access the complaint form you should submit your complaint in writing or by email. You will need to include the following information:
- Your full name and address.
- As much information about the doctor as you can give, such as his/her name, place of work and speciality, for example, GP, Radiologist.
- If possible, the doctor’s registration number which you can find online at www.medicalcouncil.ie.
- As much information about the incident as you can give, including names, dates, places and details of persons who may have witnessed the incident.
When should I make my complaint?
There are no time limits for making a complaint about a registered doctor.
Is there further explanatory information available?
Further information is available on the Medical Council website: www.MedicalCouncil.ie.