Health Act 2004 (Complaints) Regulations 2006

Statutory Instrument No.652/2006


S.I. No. 652 of 2006 .

I, Mary Harney, T.D., Minister for Health and Children, in exercise of the powers conferred on me by sections 53 and 78 of the Health Act 2004 (No. 42 of 2004) hereby make the following regulations:

Citation and Commencement

1. (1) These Regulations may be cited as the Health Act 2004 (Complaints) Regulations 2006.

(2)These Regulations come into operation on 1 January 2007.


2. (1) In these Regulations-

“the Act” means the Health Act 2004 (No.42 of 2004);

“confidential information” has the meaning assigned to it by section 26(3) of the Act;

“excluded matter” means any of the matters referred to in section 48(1) of the Act subject to subsection (2) of that section;

“investigation” includes a preliminary investigation as referred to in section 50(2) of the Act; and

“review officer” means a person appointed to carry out a review under section 49.

(2) In these Regulations-

(a) a reference to a regulation is a reference to a regulation in these Regulations;

(b) a paragraph or sub-paragraph which is not otherwise identified is a reference to a paragraph or sub-paragraph in the regulation in which the reference occurs;

(c) a reference to a section in an Act which is not otherwise identified is a reference to the Act.

Assignment of review functions by the Executive

3. (1) The Executive may assign its functions under section 49(4) either generally or in relation to specified complaints.

(2) Any such assignment shall be in writing and shall include any such information, conditions and requirements as appear to the Executive to be appropriate.

(3) The Executive may, at any time, revoke any assignment made under Paragraph (1) or amend the information, conditions and requirements imposed under Paragraph (2).

(4) Any body to whom or person to which the Executive has assigned its functions under Paragraph (1) shall provide to the Executive on request-

(a) such information as may be requested by the Executive, and in such manner as may be indicated, and

(b) the information specified in section 55(3).

Requirements to be complied with by persons making a complaint

4. (1) A complaint shall be made in writing or electronically or otherwise as set out in procedures established by the Executive or service providers in accordance with section 49 (1)(a) and for the purposes of these Regulations a complaint is treated as being made on the date on which it is received by the Executive or service provider, as appropriate.

(2) A person making a complaint may be required by the complaints officer, either at the time the complaint is made or subsequently, to provide him or her with such information and assistance as he or she may reasonably require in order to:

(a) satisfy himself or herself of the identity of the person concerned and, where the person making the complaint is not the complainant, satisfy himself or herself that the person is entitled to do so under section 46(3) or (4), as appropriate,

(b) carry out a proper investigation of the complaint made.

Complaints officers and review officers

5. (1) The Executive and service providers shall appoint such and so many persons, as considered appropriate, as complaints officers.

(2) The Executive or any body to whom or person to which it has assigned its functions under section 49(4) shall appoint such and so many persons, as appropriate, as review officers.

(3) A person appointed under Paragraph (1) or Paragraph (2) shall be independent in the exercise of his or her functions under these Regulations.

Functions of complaints officers

6. (1) A complaints officer shall investigate, subject to section 50(2), all complaints received or assigned to him or her for investigation after having satisfied himself or herself that the complaint falls within the provisions of Part 9 of the Act.

(2) Having concluded his or her investigation, the complaints officer shall make a finding as to whether the complaint is-

(a) upheld in whole or in part, or

(b) not upheld

and on the basis of that finding he or she may make such a recommendation, subject to section 51(1), that he or she is satisfied is fair and reasonable having regard to all the facts and circumstances of the complaint.

(3) A complaints officer shall prepare a report on the investigation-

(a) at the conclusion of the investigation, and

(b) at any time during the investigation, if requested by the Executive or service provider, as appropriate.

(4) A complainant may, if he or she so wishes, make written representations in support of his or her complaint and such representations shall be considered by the complaints officer.

Acknowledgement of complaints

7. (1) Upon a complaint being received by or assigned to the complaints officer (including a referral under section 48(2)), he or she shall notify, within 5 working days, the complainant, in writing, that the complaint has been so received or assigned and outline the steps that he or she proposes to take in investigating the complaint and the time limits for the completion of the investigation.

(2) Where a complaints officer decides that a complaint is not one to which Regulation 6(1) applies, he or she shall notify, in writing, the person concerned, within 5 working days, of his or her decision and the reasons for it.

(3) Where the reason for the decision under Paragraph (2) is that the complaint relates to an excluded matter, the notification under that Paragraph shall, where appropriate and to the extent possible, advise the person where the complaint might more properly be referred.

(4) Where a complaint made relates only in part to an excluded matter, the complaints officer shall investigate, in the normal way, that part of the complaint that is not so excluded and his or her notification to the complainant under Paragraph (2) shall so advise.

(5) Where, under section 47(3), a complaints officer extends or determines not to extend the time limit for making a complaint he or she shall notify, in writing, the parties to the complaint of his or her decision and the reasons relating thereto within 5 working days of the decision having been made.

Procedure to be followed in investigating complaints

8. (1) Subject to these Regulations, the complaints officer shall investigate the complaint.

(2) (a) Notwithstanding Paragraph (1) above, the complaints officer shall consider whether it would be practicable, having regard to the nature and circumstances of the complaint, to seek the consent of the complainant and any other person to whom the complaint relates to finding a resolution to the complaint by the parties concerned and where such consent is forthcoming such an approach shall be used.

(b) Where an approach under (a) is used and found to be-

(i) successful, the complaint shall be regarded as resolved,

(ii) unsuccessful, the complaint shall be investigated in accordance with Paragraphs 3 to 10 by the complaints officer who has been involved in dealing with the complaint unless the complainant objects to his or her further involvement.

(c) The resolution of the complaint under this Paragraph shall not include the payment by any person who is a party to the complaint of any financial compensation.


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