Contacting regulators to complain about mental health services

Here, we look at some of the regulatory bodies that have been set up to make sure that services are of a high quality, including mental health services.

• Service regulators: the Mental Health Commission and the Health Information and Quality Authority.
• Professional regulators: the Medical Council and An Bord Altranais (the Irish Nursing Board).
• Medicines and healthcare product regulators: Irish Medicines Board.

What if I have serious concerns about a mental health service?

Contacting the Mental Health Commission

The Mental Health Commission is an independent organisation that was set up under the Mental Health Act 2001. Its main function is to make sure that mental health services are of good quality and maintain high standards.

Generally speaking, the Mental Health Commission does not investigate complaints. However, the Inspector of Mental Health Services, who can be contacted through the Mental Health Commission, can make a note of complaints as part of the inspection process

The Mental Health Commission also has the power to launch an inquiry in the case of very serious complaints.

For more, visit www.mhcirl.ie, phone 01 636 2400 or email info@mhcirl.ie. You can also write to Mental Health Commission, St. Martin’s House, Waterloo Road, Dublin 4.

What if I have serious concerns about a doctor?

Contacting the Medical Council

The Medical Council deals with complaints about individual doctors. In Ireland, all doctors who wish to practice medicine must be registered with the medical council.
You can make a complaint to the Medical Council if you feel your doctor has acted in an unacceptable way towards you. Complaints made to the Medical Council are dealt with by the Preliminary Proceedings Committee. For further information, contact the Medical Council.

What if I have serious concerns about a nurse?

Contacting An Bord Altrainis- The Nursing Board

If you wish to make a specific complaint about an individual nurse (rather than, say the nursing staff on a particular ward), you can contact the nursing board, which goes by the Irish name An Bord Altrainis. All nurses who are practicing nursing in Ireland should be registered by An Bord Altrainis.
An Bord Altrainis investigates complaints about nurses on two grounds:
• alleged professional misconduct
• alleged unfitness to engage in such practice by reason of physical or mental disability
For further information, contact The Nursing Board.

What if I have a complaint about my medication?

Contacting the Irish Medicines Board

If you wish you report side effects or suspected issues with medication, you can fill out the Human Medicines Adverse Reaction Report on the website of the Irish Medicines Board, at http://www.imb.ie/EN/Safety–Quality/Online-Forms/Human-Medicine-Adverse-Drug-Reaction.aspx.
You could also download the form and mail it by freepost to: FREEPOST, Pharmacovigilance Section, Human Products Monitoring Department, Irish Medicines Board, Earlsfort Centre, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2. Or email imbpharmacovigilance@imb.ie.

Is there any guidance on how to make a complaint?

Complaint Checklist

The HSE has put together a complaint checklist. It advises you on what to include when making a complaint.

It is suggested that you include the following contact details:
• name and contact details
• postal address
• email address and telephone number

You must also include a summary of the complaint. This could include the following:
• What happened
• Who was involved
• When/where/how/ did it happen
• Your desired outcome (what you would like to see happen)

For more information on making a complaint about a mental health service, visit www.healthcomplaints.ie.