Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Complaint

This guide explains the different stages of the HSE Your Service, Your Say complaints policy.

Step 1: Informal Complaint (Stage 1)

If you are unhappy with the care you have received in a Public Acute Hospital you can raise the issue you have had with a member of staff. The issue might be resolved without needing to make a formal, written complaint.

Step 2: Formal Complaint (Stage 2)

If you are unhappy with the response you receive after raising the issue, you can make a written complaint. You can do this by writing a letter, an email, or filling out the online complaints form on the HSE website here 


  • receive acknowledgement within 5 working days
  • receive response to the complaint within 30 working days

Step 3: What to Include in your Complaint

In your written complaint, include the following information:

  • Your name, phone number, email address, name of the hospital, name of the section in the hospital, who was involved, dates and times of the experience, an accurate description of what happened.
  • Your complaint should also outline what you have done to resolve the issue to date, and what you want to happen now to resolve your issue.
  • You can also attach any documentation to your complaint, either in the letter or email that you feel is relevant.
  • In your written letter, you should grant permission to the HSE to access your personal confidential information.

If you don’t grant the HSE permission to access your personal confidential information, they may not be able to effectively process your complaint.


Step 4: Email complaint to , submit your complaint online or send it by post to the complaints officer

  • Post/Email for Hospitals: Send your letter or email to the complaints officer of the hospital. You can find these contact details on the HSE website complaints officers page here
  • Email HSE: You can also send your email to the HSE complaints inbox
  • Online: You can just submit your complaint online by filling out this form
  • Phone: HSE Your Service Your Say on 1800 424 555 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
  • Phone: You can talk to someone at the HSE by calling HSELive phoneline on 1800 700 700 from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 10am-5pm on Saturday. 

Step 5: If you are unhappy with the response, you can request the HSE to review the complaint (Stage 3)

If you are unhappy with the response you receive, you can consider asking the HSE to review the complaint (this is Stage 3 of Your Service, Your Say).

If you want the HSE to review your complaint, you should reply to the HSE within 30 working days to the initial response they gave to your complaint. Your response should include the following request;

“I am unhappy with the response I have received to my complaint/unhappy with how my complaint has been handled and request that the HSE undertake a review of the complaint under Stage 3 of Your Service, Your Say.”


  • Respond to the HSE within 30 working days of the HSE initial response
  • The HSE will then have 20 working days to review the complaint

Step 6: If you want to complain externally, you can contact the Ombudsman, Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Board or other relevant bodies to make a complaint (Stage 4)

 Find out more about contacting these organisations here

If you need assistance making a complaint about an experience you had in a Public Acute Hospital, check out our:

Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions
Here’s a list of other websites that may be helpful
Find out more about contacting our Service here

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