Grounds for Complaints

Grounds for complaint

Complaints can only warrant action by the Medical Council on the following grounds;

  • Professional misconduct (Conduct that experienced, competent and reputable doctors consider disgraceful or dishonourable; conduct that falls short of the standards of conduct expected of doctors)
  • Poor professional performance (a failure by the doctor to meet the standards of competence (whether in knowledge and skill, the application of knowledge and skill or both) that can reasonably be expected of doctors practising the kind of medicine practised by the doctor)
  • A relevant medical disability (a physical or mental disability (including addiction to alcohol or drugs) that may impair the doctor’s ability to practise medicine or a particular aspect of medicine)
  • 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.

Please note the important notice on complaints amounting to poor professional performance if considering making a complaint to the Medical Council.

The Medical Council only deals with complaints into individual doctors and some complaints may be transferred to another regulatory body or Healthcare employer, where deemed appropriate.  The Medical Council follows a strict legal process to investigate complaints, and a patient or patient representive should carefully assess their options. The patient may also:

For more information on the appropriate body in which you can make a complaint to visit or contact a patient advocacy service.

Immediate Suspension
Where the Council considers that an immediate suspension is necessary to protect the public, it can apply to the High Court for an order to suspend a doctor’s registration, regardless of whether the doctor is the subject of a complaint.

Examples of Complaints

While this not an exhaustive list, these are some examples of complaints we have received:

  • Irresponsible or repeated mistakes in prescribing e.g. prescribing drugs in an excessive or dangerous manner  
  • Treatment/Performance e.g.  serious failure to examine a patient properly
  • Inappropriate relationships and behaviour
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Inappropriate examinations
  • Fraud or dishonesty
  • Serious breaches of a patient's confidentiality
  • Any serious criminal offence
  • Clinical incompetence