Complaints policy - MUH

Cork Emergency Departments

Policy statement

This policy provides a means to invite comments {negative and positive} from patients, relatives and visitors to the Mercy University Hospital. The 2004 Health Act has provision in Part 9 sections 45 to deal with complaints under a statutory framework.

The statutory framework prevents the investigation of a complaint resulting directly from a clinical decision to be investigated under this procedure.

The Mercy University Hospital complaints process aims to comply with the Patient Charter (1992) and the National Health Strategy “Shaping a Healthier Future” (1994) and “Quality and Fairness” (2001). The complaints procedure is an essential element of consumer responsiveness where the comments of the public are used as a gauge of service quality.

All complaints not resolved locally and requiring investigation will be acknowledged within 10 working days. All complaints requiring investigation will receive a response or a progress update within twenty-eight working day. (These time frames are in line with guideline for release of information under the Freedom of Information Act)

Where a third party complains on behalf of the patient, consent must be received from the patients if it is anticipated that there is potential for a breach of patient confidentiality or if clinical details are likely to be discussed. Care must be taken at all times throughout the procedure to ensure that any information about the patient is confined to what is relevant to the complaint and disclosed on to those people who have a need to know it for the purpose of the investigation of the complaint.


Verbal Complaints

All verbal complaints are to be addressed immediately by the individual and if at all possible, every effort should be made to resolve the complaint at local level.

Written Complaints

All written complaints not resulting directly from a clinical decision, received within the hospital should be forwarded, within 24 hours, to the Complaints manager who will acknowledge the complaint within 10 working days.

Complaints will be dealt with fully and a response issued within 28 working days to the person making the complaint. In the event of a complaint requiring action which will prevent a response being available within 28 working days, the person making the complaint will be kept fully informed of the status of the progress.

The Complaints Manager or the Director of Nursing is responsible for forwarding the complaint to the appropriate Department Head , who in turn will investigate, liaise directly with the complainant, formulate a response and endeavour to seek solutions whenever necessary. The Complaints Manager will reply to the complainant with resolution and follow up if required.

Print Version

If the complaint is not resolved it is then forwarded/resubmitted to the Deputy CEO who acknowledges the complaint and asks if the complainant requires an independent review.

  1. The Deputy CEO appoints a chairperson and agrees a panel to conduct a review
  2. The Chairperson convenes the panel
  3. The Chairperson informs the complainant of the procedure and supports available to them throughout the investigation
  4. The Panel conducts an investigation using all available resources and information
  5. The Panel feed back to the complainant.
    1. If there is no resolution the Complainant can refer to the Ombudsman for further investigation
    2. If there is resolution the report is forwarded to the DCEO and the Complaints manager and the file is completed and feedback is given to relevant staff

When the Ombudsman investigates a complaint a report is sent to the DCEO and the Complaints Manager. The file is completed and feedback is given to relevant staff.

Complaint resulting from a Clinical decision

  1. When a complaint is received which is as a result of a clinical decision it should be forwarded to the Consultant or Director of Nursing or Allied Health professional as appropriate
  2. A letter of acknowledgement will be sent to the patient advising that their concerns will be reviewed internally but that they are prohibited from being investigated under the Complaints Procedure because they result from a Clinical decision
  3. The Consultant, Director of Nursing or Head of Allied Health professionals will review the complaint, the patient record, and interview relevant staff and then invite the patient to meet with them to get feedback
  4. If the complainant is not satisfied with the response they should be advised that they may proceed with the matter through the legal system

If you are concerned, please contact the Emergency Department you first attended:

Mercy Injury Unit, Gurranabraher (021)4926900

LIU Mallow(022)58506

LIU Bantry(027)52900

Content by Mary Dunnion, Director of Nursing, MUH 11 Oct 2005.