Making a Complaint
If you have concerns in relation to a doctor
If you believe that a doctor’s behaviour, conduct or practice poses a risk to patients or others you should tell us as soon as possible.
Examples of such situations include where a doctor has:
- misused alcohol or drugs;
- failed to examine patients adequately or at all;
- made a serious or repeated mistakes in the diagnosis or treatment of a patient;
- prescribed medication (eg: benzodiazepines or opiates) excessively;
- behaved dishonestly;
- made sexual advances towards patients or carried out inappropriate examinations.
The above are only examples and not an exhaustive list. Guidance in relation to professional conduct and ethics for doctors can be found in the Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners.pdf.
The Medical Council considers every complaint about a doctor carefully, on its own merits. If you believe a doctor's behaviour, conduct or practice is putting patients or others at risk, you should contact the Medical Council immediately.
How to make a complaint about a doctor
Our complaints form can be submitted online or downloaded and submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or submitted by post to the following address:
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.
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 (Important notice on complaints amounting to 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:
- 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.
- Give legal or professional advice or representation to people making complaints.
- Make a doctor apologise to a patient or professional colleague;
- Order a doctor to provide a patient with treatment.
The Medical Council’s complaint procedures are set out in the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, and in the Preliminary Proceedings Committee Procedures document which are available below.