An Agreement with the Office of the Ombudsman
On 23 March 2017, the Medical Council and the Office of the Ombudsman signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will allow for the exchange of information and complaints between both offices. The MoU will benefit both the public and health services. The agreement will also establish procedures to assist members of the public in accessing the services of both organisations.
Several specific actions will be covered by the agreement. These include:
- The Medical Council referring complainants directly to the Ombudsman where appropriate.
- The Ombudsman referring relevant complaints to the Medical Council with the consent of the complainant.
- Joint initiatives such as projects and research on improving the quality and safety of patient care.
Any exchange of information between both organisations will be done in accordance with the law.
Speaking at the signing, Ombudsman Peter Tyndall said:
"Many people who contact my office tell me that making a complaint in the health and care sector can be complex. We operate on the principle that there should be no wrong door when it comes to making a complaint. There is an onus on regulatory and complaints handling bodies to ensure that complaints or information received from the public is channeled to the appropriate office. This MoU follows similar MoUs between my Office and HIQA, and the Ombudsman for Children. The agreement will help ensure that anyone with concerns about the treatment they have received will have those concerns addressed properly, thoroughly and promptly."
Bill Prasifka, Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Council added:
“Under this agreement, we at the Medical Council will continue to have legal responsibility for the regulation of doctors, with the Ombudsman responsible for public service providers. We are both committed to working within our statutory remit to best serve the public. It’s important that we cooperate with the Ombudsman - we each receive complaints, and going forward we can each manage those complaints best suited to our particular remit. With this MoU, we can now accurately direct people to the best organisation for the timely resolution of their complaint.”
A full copy of the Memorandum of Understanding is available at www.ombudsman.ie and www.medicalcouncil.ie