Middle-aged doctors face most complaints
Middle-aged and Irish-trained doctors are now the main target for complaint, it has emerged.
Although there was a big rise in complaints against doctors from outside the EU last year, the home-grown doctor is most likely to be the subject of investigation by the Medical Council.
The regulator's annual report recorded an increase in complaints last year - up to 411 from 369 in 2015.
However, just 42 out of the 386 complaints which were assessed went on to full inquiry, according to council member Dr John Barragry.
Of the 45 inquiries held last year, 20 were conducted in public and 25 in private, following an application for privacy from the complainant or doctor.
Medical Council chief executive Bill Prasifka said inquiries took longer and were more complex.
Communication accounted for the single biggest category of complaint by patients, followed by failure to treat them with dignity.
Three complaints about a doctor's drinking problem were received - and three related to drug abuse.
The report said six doctors were struck off and 29 others were sanctioned in some form.
There is a record 21,795 doctors registered in Ireland and 41pc have qualified outside the country.
A survey of trainees provided more hope that they will stay to work in Irish hospitals and health services.
Three years ago, 21pc said they did not see themselves staying, but this fell to 14pc in 2016.