How complaints are investigated
If a complaint is made about a nurse or midwife to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) it will be assigned to a case officer. The case officer assists the Preliminary Proceedings Committee (PPC) to manage the complaint and to carry out any investigations. The case officer will keep you updated in relation to any decision made by the PPC or the Board regarding whether or not the complaint warrants further action.
The case officer will:
- Write to the complainant to acknowledge receipt of the complaint. The case officer may ask the complainant to provide copies of any documents referred to in the complaint.
- Write to you enclosing a copy of the complaint and any supporting documentation received. You will be invited to respond to the complaint but you are not obliged to do so.
Your written report together with any accompanying documentation and any response received from you will then be provided to the PPC to consider. Before reaching a decision in relation to whether or not there is sufficient cause to warrant further action in relation to the complaint, the PPC may ask for further investigations to be carried out by the case officer. These investigations may include obtaining documentation and statements from witnesses. The PPC may also direct that a copy of any response from you should be provided to the complainant.
In addition, the PPC may:
- Require the complainant to verify by affidavit (a written declaration) or by other means anything contained in the complaint.
- Require the complainant to give more information about the matter raised by the complaint.
- Require you to give specified information in relation to the complaint.
- Invite you to submit observations or supply any information which you believe should be considered by the PPC.
You will be provided with a copy of all documentation obtained by the PPC during the course of its investigation.
Action by the PPC
Once the PPC has considered all the documentation received in relation to the complaint, it could do one or more of the following:
- Refer the matter to the FTPC for a sworn oral inquiry.
- Form the opinion that there is not sufficient cause to warrant further action being taken in relation to the complaint.
- Form the opinion that the complaint should be referred to another body or authority.
- Form the opinion that the complaint could be resolved by mediation or other informal means.
In the case of the second, third and fourth options above, the PPC must inform the Board of NMBI of its opinion. The Board may then do one or more of the following:
- Decide that no further action is to be taken in relation to the complaint.
- Direct the PPC to refer the matter to another body or authority.
- Refer information in relation to the complaint in accordance with a co-operation agreement entered into under section 15 of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011.
The case officer will keep you updated in relation to any decision made by the PPC or Board regarding whether or not the complaint warrants further action.
Timelines for dealing with complaints
The NMBI is aware that it can be very stressful and worrying for you, knowing that a complaint has been made about you and having to wait to hear what is happening in relation to the complaints process.
The PPC is obliged to make reasonable efforts to ensure that it acts expeditiously and that complaints are processed in a timely manner. However, the amount of time required to complete an investigation and to make a decision about what action to take will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The complexity of the complaint.
- The time needed to identify and obtain relevant documents.
- The time needed to arrange witness meetings and to take statements.
- Waiting for any other investigations to be completed, for example, an investigation by An Garda Síochána.
If the complaint is referred to the FTPC for an inquiry, then this will give rise to a further period of time before the matter is concluded. An inquiry usually takes place within six to ten months from when the PPC decides to hold an inquiry but this may vary, depending on the complexity of the complaint and how much preparation is involved.
What to do if a Complaint is Made About You
(PDF, 0.96 MB)