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Making a Complaint

The “Your Service Your Say” HSE Complaints policy (Nationwide since 1st January 2007) invites all health service users to have their say about their experience of the health services, and about how services have been delivered.

You can find out more about the HSE Your Service Your Say procedure page here 

Alternatively a complaint can be made directly to the hospital, below is a list of contact details for the complaints office in Saolta Group hospitals. 

Complaints Officers: Saolta University Health Care Group Information

Review Officers: Saolta University Health Care Group Information 

Making a Complaint

Who can make a Complaint

In accordance with Section 46, Part 9 of the Health Act 2004 the following may make a complaint:

  • Any person who is being or was provided with a health or personal social service by the HSE or service provider,
  • Any person who is seeking or has sought provision of such service.

A complaint may be made about any action of the HSE or associated Service Provider that:

  • it is claimed, does not accord with fair and sound administrative practice, and
  • adversely affects or affected that person

As defined in the Health Act 2004, an action does not accord with fair and sound administrative practice if it is:

  • taken without proper authority,
  • taken on irrelevant grounds,
  • the result of negligence or carelessness,
  • based on erroneous or incomplete information,
  • improperly discriminatory,
  • based on undesirable administrative practice, or
  • in any other respect contrary to fair or sound administration.

If a person is entitled to make a complaint but is unable to do so because of age, illness or disability, the complaint may be made on that person’s behalf by;

  • A close relative or carer of the person,
  • Any person who, by law or by appointment of a court, has the care of the affairs of that person,
  • Any legal representative of the person,
  • Any other person with the consent of the person, or
  • Any other person who is appointed as prescribed in the regulations.

If a person who would otherwise have been entitled to make a complaint is deceased, a complaint may be made by a person who, at the time of the action in relation to which the complaint is made, was a close relative, or carer of that person. A close relative is defined in Section 45 of the Health Act, 2004 as being a parent, guardian, son, daughter, spouse or someone who is cohabiting with the person on whose behalf the complaint is being made.

What should be included in a complaint?

A complaint should include:

  • Who was involved?
  • What happened and when?
  • What is the Service User concerned about?
  • Has the Service User done anything else to resolve this matter?
  • What does the Service User want to happen now?

It will also assist the staff member if any extra information and/or copies of other relevant documents are attached to the Service User’s written complaint.

Still unsure how to make a complaint?

If the Service User is still not sure how to make a complaint to the HSE they can contact the YourSay Team who will assist in making the Service User’s complaint on 1800 424 555 when calling from Ireland or +353 1 642 4555 when calling from outside Ireland.

What will happen next?

If the complaint can be resolved locally at point of contact then the staff member will attempt to do so and may involve their line manager. At this point staff will try to resolve the complaint within 48 hours and will keep the Service User informed of their progress.

If it is not possible to resolve the matter, or the Service User is not satisfied with the outcome, staff will assist the Service User to escalate this to a Complaints Officer.

  • The Complaints Officer will contact the Service User within 48 hours and attempt to resolve the complaint informally. If this is not possible then they will progress to the formal investigative process.
  • The Complaints Officer will formally acknowledge the Service User’s complaint within 5 working days of the complaint being made to the HSE.
  • The Complaints Officer will investigate the Service User’s complaint within 30 working days of the date when it was acknowledged.
  • If it takes longer to investigate all the issues raised in the complaint, the Complaints Officer will notify the Service User within the 30 working days and will update the Service User every 20 working days after that as required.
  • When the formal complaint investigation is complete the Complaints Officer will send an investigation report to the Service User which may include recommendations arising from the investigation into the issue(s) of the complaint.

What happens if the Service User is not satisfied with the complaint investigation

All cover letters accompanying the Complaints Officer’s investigation report will advise the Service User of their right to review which can either be to the HSE Internal Review process or to the Independent/External investigation process, e.g. the Ombudsman/Ombudsman for children, contact details below.

Office of the Ombudsman
The Ombudsman is fair, independent, and free to use. The best way to contact the Ombudsman is by:
Clicking on the ‘Make a Complaint’ link at
Writing to: Office of the Ombudsman, 6 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, D02 W773
Calling the Ombudsman on 01 639 5600 if you have any queries

Ombudsman for Children's Office
Millennium House,
52-56 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1.
Freephone: 1800 20 20 40
Phone: 01 865 6800