Complaints Procedure


All staff members are committed to providing a professional service to all who attend this hospital. If you are dissatisfied with any service we provide you can contact us. We welcome this as an aid to improving what we do. It is hoped that all complaints can be resolved amicably by;

  • Giving the patient/complainant the opportunity to complaint
  • Listening to the complaint.
  • Investigating the complaint
  • Giving an explanation/information.

If you are unhappy about any aspect of our service, if you have a suggestion for improvement or you wish to make a comment please contact us. All comments both negative and positive are invited from patients, relatives and visitors to the hospital. Complaints can be verbal, written or email. Comments can also be made by filling in the comment cards and placing in the boxes located throughout the hospital complex.

Complaints are dealt with in accordance with Section 9 Health Act 2004.


How to complain/comment:


Stage 1: Local resolution


  • If you are not satisfied with a service or feel improvements could be made you should immediately contact the staff working in the relevant area who will try for your convenience to resolve the situation locally.

 Stage 2: Informal resolution/formal investigation –

               Complaints Co- Ordinator.

  • The complainant may also complain or raise a concern with the Complaints Co-Ordinator by telephone, meeting with, or letter or email.  Verbal complaints will where possible be resolved at source. Formal written complaints will be acknowledged within 5 working days of receipt, investigated and a reply sent within 30 working days. If this is not possible an explanation will be given for the delay. If there is a delay in responding, the complainant will be kept updated every 20 days regarding the progress of the complaint. Where the 30 working day timeframe cannot be met despite every effort, the Complaints Co-Ordinator will endeavour to conclude the investigation of the complaint within 6 months of receipt of the complaint. If the review will take longer than 6 months the Complaints Co-Ordinator advises the complainant of the reason for the delay
  • Mediation may be used to attempt resolution of the complaint if both parties agree. It is hoped that the complaint can be resolved using less formal means where possible.


Internal Review:


If the complainant is not happy with the response received he/she can appeal the decision to our Internal Review Officer/team within 20 working days of receipt of the initial response outlining the area of the complaint where he/she is not satisfied. The review must be conducted where possible within 20 working days of receipt of the request for review. If the review will take longer the complainant is updated. The Review Officer/team will uphold, vary or make a new finding and recommendation. The Review Officer/team may carry out a new investigation.


Ombudsman/Ombudsman for Children:

If the complainant is still not happy with the response received he/she can refer the complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman/Ombudsman for Children. The Ombudsman/Ombudsman for Children will require that all the hospital processes are exhausted before they will initiate a review of the complaint.



All complainants have the right to appoint an advocate. Where a person is unable to make a complaint themselves an advocate can assist them in making the complaint.


Time limits for receiving complaints:

To help us resolve your complaint or concern please tell us what it is as soon as possible. Our time limits for raising concerns are within 12 months of the incident giving rise to the complaint or problem, or within 12 months of the complainant becoming aware of the action giving rise to the complaint. We can consider extending these timeframes if there is a genuine reason why you didn’t contact us earlier.


We will:

  • Pass on any praise and act on any comments
  • Handle complaints and personal details in confidence without prejudice
  • We endeavour to ensure that all queries are  handled fairly and properly
  • Reply to verbal complaints as soon as is reasonably practical.
  • Acknowledge written complaints within 5 working days of receipt
  • Investigate where possible all complaints within 30 working days. If the process takes longer we will keep the complainant updated every 20 working days
  • Issue a written response to every written complaint
  • Advise of the complainants rights to an independent internal review
  • Advise of your right to an independent review by the Ombudsman/Ombudsman for Children

Contact Number:

Complaints Co-Ordinator

Telephone: 021 – 4926100


In writing:

Patient Complaints Co-ordinator,

South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital

Old Blackrock Road, Cork


All complaints relating to staff members/treatment must be made in writing

Section 48 (1) Health Act 2004


A person is not entitled to make a complaint about any of the following matters:

a)    A matter that is or has been the subject of legal proceedings before a court or tribunal;

b)    A matter relating solely to the exercise of clinical judgement by a person acting on behalf of either the Executive or a service provider;

c)     An action taken by the Executive or a service provider solely on the advice of a person exercising clinical judgement in the circumstances.

d)    A matter relating to the recruitment or appointment of an employee by the Executive or service provider;

e)    A matter relating to or affecting the terms or conditions of a contract of employment that the Executive or a service provider proposes to enter into or of a contract with an adviser that the Executive proposes to enter into under Section 24;

f)       A matter that could be the subject of an appeal under section 60 of the Civil Registration Act 2004;

g)    A matter that could prejudice an investigation being undertaken by the Garda Siochana;

h)     A matter that has been brought before any other complaints procedure established under an enactment.

Complaints received concerning any of the above can be referred to other disciplines for investigation such as Dignity at Work, Trust in Care, Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure, Medical Council, INO.                                       



Page last updated: 28/04/2016
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South Infirmary

Victoria University Hospital

A teaching hospital

of University College Cork