Fitness to Practise
How long does the complaints process take?
NMBI is aware that the complaints process can be a stressful and worrying time for anyone involved, including the person who has made a complaint, potential witnesses and the nurse or midwife herself.
Under the Nurses and Midwives Act, 2011, the Preliminary Proceedings Committee (PPC) is required to make reasonable efforts to ensure that complaints are processed in a timely manner. The amount of time it takes to process a complaint can vary, depending on how complex the complaint is.
In some cases another body or authority such as An Garda Síochána may have to complete its investigation before the PPC can begin its own investigation.
If a complaint is referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee for an inquiry, it can take another six to ten months to hold the inquiry, but this again can vary, depending on how complex the complaint is.
You can find out more about the complaints process on this page.
I am a registered midwife. I’m aware that a complaint has been made about me. Can I remove my name from the Register of Nurses and Midwives?
A registered nurse or registered midwife may apply to the Board of NMBI to have his or her registration removed from the Register or from a division of the Register. However, if you are the subject of a complaint that has not been dealt with under the relevant parts of the Nurses and Midwives Act, 2011, the Board will not consider your application until this process is complete.
Do I have to give my name when making a complaint about a nurse or midwife?
Anonymous complaints cannot be considered unless further enquiries provide information that causes concern about a nurse or midwife’s conduct and their ability to practise safely. NMBI takes any complaint about a nurse or midwife seriously.
The more information that is provided in relation to a complaint (including the names of any witnesses or persons raising a concern), the more efficiently that complaint can be investigated.
I have concerns about a nurse but am unsure about whether to raise an official complaint. Who do I contact in the first instance?
If you are a patient, the relative of a patient or another person supporting a patient, you should raise your concerns at a local level first. Contact the ward, hospital or clinic management to find out how they deal with concerns and complaints.
If you feel it is necessary to take further action, you can contact the Fitness to Practise Department at the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).
You can find out more about making a complaint and the complaints process on these pages:
Other organisations and agencies may be able to help you by providing support or advocacy. Go to our Who can help page.
If you are an employer you can find out more about making a complaint on the Complaints from employers page.
If you are a nurse or midwife you can find out more about making a complaint on the Complaints from nurses and midwives page.
I have concerns about a particular nurse but I am not sure how NMBI assesses the complaints it receives. What should I do?
People make complaints about nurses and midwives for different reasons. There are several grounds for complaints set out in the Nurses and Midwives Act, 2011.
You should report a nurse or midwife if you know or suspect their behaviour:
Has harmed or may harm you, a patient or someone else
Has been so unprofessional that unless the Board of NMBI takes action, the general public will lose trust in the nursing and/or midwifery professions.
If you are a registered nurse or a registered midwife you have a professional responsibility to report any safety concerns you have about the healthcare environment. This responsibility extends to reporting your concerns where you consider patients’ dignity is not being respected.
Signs that you should be alert to are listed on the Complaints from employers page and Complaints from nurses and midwives pages.
I have received a subpoena to attend an inquiry as a witness but I will be on holiday. What can I do?
A subpoena or witness summons served in advance of the inquiry legally requires you to attend the inquiry to give evidence. However, in circumstances such as being on holiday, you should notify the Fitness to Practise Department or the CEO’s solicitors as soon as possible. You may be asked to produce evidence that you will be out of the country.
I made a complaint but now I wish to withdraw it. What should I do?
You should notify NMBI that you wish to withdraw your complaint. If you withdraw your complaint while it is being considered by the Preliminary Proceedings Committee (PPC), the PPC may either decide to take no further action or may continue to deal with the complaint.
If you with draw your complaint while it is being considered by the Fitness to Practise Committee (FtPC), the FtPC may either decide to take no further action or may continue to deal with the complaint.
The Board must agree with the committee’s decision in any case.
If a complaint has been made about me, can I continue to work or practise as a nurse or midwife?
You can continue to work or practise as a nurse or midwife while there are no restrictions on your registration.
In some circumstances the Board may apply to the High Court to suspend a nurse or midwife’s registration temporarily. The Board may do this even in situations where no complaint has been made but where suspension of the nurse or midwife’s registration is considered necessary to protect the public.
When considering any complaint the NMBI’s Preliminary Proceedings Committee (PPC) will always assess whether or not the nurse or midwife’s registration should be suspended. If the PPC considers that the nurse or midwife’s registration should be suspended, it will pass the matter on to the Board.
If the complaint is referred for an inquiry, you may still continue to work or practise.
What can the NMBI do about a complaint?
Once we have investigated your complaint there are several courses of action that can be taken. These include referring the complaint to another body, offering mediation between yourself and the nurse or midwife or imposing one or more sanction on the nurse or midwife.
NMBI cannot award compensation to you.
For more information on the possible outcomes of an investigation of a complaint, please go to page:
How complaints are dealt with
What happens at an inquiry?
The inquiry is similar to a hearing before a Court or Tribunal. The Fitness to Practise Committee (FtPC) will hear the evidence presented at the inquiry. First the FtPC will hear from by the legal representatives acting for the CEO of the NMBI. These legal representatives will open the inquiry, present evidence and call witness to give evidence in support of the complaint.
The nurse or midwife or her representative may question these witnesses about their evidence. The FtPC may also question these witnesses. Then the nurse or midwife or her representative may make submissions to the FtPC and call witnesses to give evidence. The nurse or midwife’s witnesses may be cross-examined by the CEO’s legal representative and by the FtPC.
There can be long periods of waiting at inquiries. If you are called to give evidence, it is suggested that you bring reading materials or a laptop. Free Wifi is available at the NMBI premises.
Inquiries are usually held in public. Depending on the individual circumstances of each inquiry, the whole inquiry or parts of the inquiry may be held in private.
For more information about what happens at inquiries, go the Inquiries page.