Frequently Asked Questions – Complaints Process

We have set out below some frequently asked questions in relation to the complaints process.

The PSI can only consider complaints against registered pharmacists that deal with one or more of the following: 

  • professional misconduct; 
  • poor professional performance; 
  • impairment of the registered pharmacist’s ability to practice because of a physical or mental ailment, an emotional disturbance or an addiction to alcohol or drugs; 
  • failure to obey the conditions attached to the pharmacist’s registration; 
  • failure to comply with an undertaking or to take agreed action following a request from a Committee of Inquiry under Section 46 of the Pharmacy Act 2007; 
  • failure to comply with certain provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013; 
  • failure to comply with any duties imposed by section 18(1)(A) of the Pharmacy Act which relate to the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods ) Act 2013; 
  • breaching a provision of the Pharmacy Act 2007 or rules made by the PSI under the Act; 
  • conviction in the State or outside the State for indictable offences 

The PSI will consider complaints against registered pharmacies if: 

  • the pharmacy owner, partner, employee or representative of the pharmacy owner has been convicted of certain offences listed in Section 36(1)(a) of the Pharmacy Act 2007; 
  • the pharmacy owner, partner, employee or representative has been convicted of any other offence or has committed misconduct that would cause the PSI Council to refuse an application for registration; 
  • the pharmacy owner has failed to comply with any of the duties referred to in section 18(1)(A) of the Act imposed on the pharmacy owner by regulations made under section 18 which relate to the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. 

The PSI cannot consider complaints about: 

  • professionals who are not pharmacists; 
  • businesses that are not pharmacies; 
  • commercial matters, such as pricing or non-payment of rent on commercial premises; 
  • employment issues, such as hours of work or contracts of employment. 

The PSI can also not: 

  • give you legal advice or representation; 
  • help you make a claim for compensation, or award compensation; 
  • provide or arrange medical treatment or counselling for you; 
  • ask a pharmacist on your behalf to do something; 
  • force a pharmacist or pharmacy owner to apologise to you; 
  • give you an explanation of what happened.

You do not need a solicitor to make a complaint.

No, as the statutory regulator, and in the interest of fair procedures, we must remain independent. We cannot help you make your statutory complaint, but we will assist you as best we can with your questions about the process, what making a complaint means and what might happen after you make a complaint. If you want to discuss the complaints procedure, please contact us. 

We also suggest that you may find it useful to speak with a patient advocacy group or support organisation, who can help you with making a complaint. Please see the useful contacts list below.

When the PSI receives your written complaint, we will: 

  • write and tell you that we have received it; 
  • send a copy of your complaint to the pharmacist or pharmacy owner; 
  • give the pharmacist or pharmacy owner an opportunity to provide comments in relation to your complaint; 
  • send you a copy of the response of the pharmacist or pharmacy owner for further comment; 
  • send any further comments that you make to the pharmacist or pharmacy owner for their final comment. 

All complaints received by the PSI are considered by the complaints screening committee, called the Preliminary Proceedings Committee (PPC). The role of the PPC is to decide whether further action is necessary in relation to complaints received.

We understand that making a complaint can be stressful, so we will try to consider your complaint as quickly as we can. However, some complaints are complex and it may take some time to gather all information required to reach a fair decision. We will keep you informed as much as is possible at each stage of the complaints process.

In the interest of fairness, we have to tell the pharmacist or pharmacy owner that you have made a complaint. We also have to give the pharmacist or pharmacy owner a copy of your complaint and any other information you provided. Apart from that, we will keep any information you give us confidential in line with data protection legislation. Please note that if your complaint results in an Inquiry, it may be held in public.

You may apply to withdraw your complaint at any stage of the complaints process, for example if you are satisfied with the response received from the pharmacist or pharmacy owner. The Committee considering the complaint may, with the Council’s agreement, decide that no further action is needed, or it may decide to go ahead with the complaint. This may happen if your complaint involves issues which the Committee believes should be addressed in the public interest. By law, the PSI must act in the interest of public safety even if you would prefer that it did not investigate the complaint further.

If you make a complaint to the PSI it is likely that you will have to give evidence at the Inquiry. Committees of Inquiry have the right to issue a witness summons (legal orders) to require you or other witnesses to give evidence at an Inquiry or to produce any documents that the Committee of Inquiry asks for to assist them in making a decision. 

If you are asked to give a witness statement, or to give evidence at an inquiry, you may bring a friend or family member with you for support, although this person may not always be allowed to sit in on the meeting/inquiry, as the information may be confidential. 

If your complaint suggests that there is a serious and immediate risk to the health and safety of the public, the Council of the PSI can ask the High Court to suspend the registration of a pharmacist or pharmacy until the complaint process is over. 

Complaints must be in writing to the PSI. Please complete and sign a copy of the PSI complaint form. 

Send your complaint form or letter and your supporting documents by: 

  • email to complaints@psi.ie, or 
  • post to Complaints Officer, Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, PSI House, 15-19 Fenian Street, Dublin 2, D02 TD72. 

Your complaint should include: 

  • your full name, address and daytime telephone number; 
  • have your signature; 
  • as much information about the circumstances of your complaint as you can, including names, dates and places; 
  • as much information about the pharmacist or pharmacy as you can, such as name and place of work; 
  • any supporting documents that you have, including copies of prescriptions or letters; 
  • the name and contact details of anyone, such as a witness, who can confirm the matters you describe in your complaint.

Public and Patient Advocacy and Support Services

Citizens Information Board

Telephone: 0818 07 9000
www.citizensinformationboard.ie

Dignity 4 Patients

Telephone: (041) 984 3730/ 086 165 4111
www.dignity4patients.org

Health Complaints

This website provides information on how to make a complaint or give feedback about health services in Ireland.
www.healthcomplaints.ie

Peer Advocacy in Mental Health

Telephone: (01) 547 0510
www.irishadvocacynetwork.com

Irish Patients Association

Telephone: 087 659 4183
www.irishpatients.ie

Patient Advocacy Service

Tel: 0818293003
www.patientadvocacyservice.ie

Sage Advocacy

Tel: (01) 536 7330
www.sageadvocacy.ie


Other Regulators and Public Bodies

CORU - Regulator Health and Social Care Professionals

Telephone: (01) 293 3160
www.coru.ie

Dental Council – Regulator of Dentists

Telephone: (01) 676 2069
www.dentalcouncil.ie

Health Service Executive (HSE) - Healthcare Services

Telephone: 1800 700 700
www.hse.ie

Medical Council of Ireland – Regulator of Doctors

Telephone: (01) 498 3100
www.medicalcouncil.ie

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland – Regulator of Nurses and Midwives

Telephone: (01) 639 8500
www.nmbi.ie

Ombudsman

Telephone: (01) 639 5600
www.ombudsman.ie

Ombudsman for Children's Office

Telephone: 01 865 6800
www.oco.ie

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman

Tel: (01) 567 7000
www.fspo.ie