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Ombudsman and Medical Council agreement will benefit the public and health services

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 here and at www.medicalcouncil.ie

Medical Council MoU

Bill Prasifka, IMC CEO; Prof Freddie Wood, IMC President; Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman; and Jacqui McCrum, Director General of the Ombudsman's Office

ENDS

For more information please contact

Paul Howe, Office of the Ombudsman, 01 639 5645, 086 412 0240 paul.howe@ombudsman.ie

Notes

 Under the Memorandum, each organisation has jurisdiction over different areas of public interest matters. The MoU is intended to cover areas of common interest or where co-operation will lead to better informed regulation and complaints redress.


Role of the Medical Council

The Medical Council regulates medical doctors in the Republic of Ireland. The Council's purpose is to protect the public by promoting and better ensuring high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence among doctors. The Medical Council also handles complaints made by the public against doctors. It is imperative that the Council’s systems for the handling of complaints against doctors are robust, effective and fair.

In recent years, the Medical Council has entered Memorandums of Understanding with several other agencies, including the HSE and HIQA.

Role of the Office of the Ombudsman

The Office of the Ombudsman examines complaints from members of the public against certain public service providers, including the HSE, public hospitals, and public and private nursing homes. Bodies who supply publicly provided social care services are also subject to the Ombudsman's remit. The Ombudsman decides if complainants have been dealt with fairly and properly. He may recommend redress for complainants, if appropriate, and may make recommendations for systemic improvements arising from individual complaints and complaints generally.