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Complaints to the Irish Medical Council Increase
September 2010 saw the Medical Council publish statistics on the number of complaints received and processed in 2009. To read the report, please click here.
The Medical Council’s complaint procedure is a two stage process under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007. A complaint is initially considered by the Preliminary Proceedings Committee (“PPC”). The complaint may be made by any person, including a patient, or the Medical Council itself. If the PPC consider that there is substance to a complaint, the complaint may be referred on for inquiry, before the Fitness to Practise Committee (“FTPC”).
In 2009, the Medical Council received 295 complaints. A total of 213 of the complaints related to professional standards and the treatment provided to patients. 43 of the complaints concerned a failure on the part of the medical practitioner to communicate as well as issues relating to the supply of medical records and reports. The balance of the complaints focused on issues such as alcohol/drug dependence, irresponsible prescribing, advertising and criminal convictions.
44 per cent of complaints were made against hospital consultants, while 50 per cent of complaints related to General Practitioners. Of the doctors complained of in 2009, 22 were complained of more than once. The Medical Council reported that there was a one in 61.5 chance of a doctor having a complaint made against them.
Of the 295 of the cases that were considered by the PPC in 2009, 31 were referred on to a full inquiry. This represents a 13 per cent increase on previous years. 10 of the inquiries were held in private, 3 in public and 1 case was heard partly in private.
It has been reported that the number of complaints in 2010 are running at about 30 per month and are on course to reach 370 by year end(1).