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The Dubai Healthcare City Authority-Regulation (DHCR), that deals with complaints of medical malpractice within DHCC, received a total of 40 complaints in 2015. The majority of the complaints were against individual health-care professionals while some were directed at health-care teams.
Common complaints were misdiagnosis of patients; performing wrong surgery and procedure; mismanagement resulting in complications; unsatisfactory service or result; and negligence by health-care professionals.
Dr Ramadan Al Beloushi, chief executive officer, DHCR, said, “The investigation of complaints at DHCR is one of our main tools to ensure that health standards are maintained in the free zone. Therefore, we have a transparent and fair mechanism to encourage patients to come forward for medical-related complaints.
”The Customer Protection Unit (CPU) at DHCR is responsible for receiving and investigating patients’ medical complaints against health-care facilities operating within the free zone.
How the system works
Once a complaint is lodged, a formal investigation is opened. The CPU sends its finding to an independent committee comprising specialists from outside the UAE to determine the validity of the complaint. (Committees are formed on a case by case basis.) Following this, the committee arrives at a decision.
Dr Al Beloushi said, “As all decisions related to the complaint are made through independent bodies outside the UAE, our complaints process is fair, transparent and impartial for both patients and health-care professionals. Having specialists from outside the UAE ensures that there is no bias — whether in favour or against the health-care providers or professionals.
”Five out of the total number of the complaints in 2015 proved to be cases of medical negligence, including medical errors such as performing wrong surgery or procedure and misdiagnosis of patients.
The actions taken against violators in 2015 included the suspension of one clinical facility within the free zone and the physician working at the facility. There were also two cases of clinical privilege suspension along with a number of warning letters issued to different facilities.
How a patient can file a complaint at DHCR
It is important to note that each health-care facility must have its own complaint management guidelines, protocols and policies to guide the provision of the highest quality health care and improve patient safety. They should inform all their patients and families about the complaint process and their right to have their complaints addressed, reviewed and, whenever possible, resolved through mediation processes.
How to complain
A patient can file a complaint against health-care professionals or providers within the free zone through email, call centre, letter or in person to the CPU.A patient can contact DHCR by phone 800-HEALTH (800-43258)/04-3425555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How the DHCR acts on a complaint
Customer Protection Unit (CPU) analyses the complaint to determine if it is within its scope.
If yes, a notification will be sent to the complainant requesting him/her to obtain a complaint form and complete the application with all supporting documents such as medical records.
Once the complaint form and the supporting documents are obtained by CPU, then the complaint is logged and an investigation is opened.
The investigation process takes between three-six months.If the complaint is out of its scope, the case is referred to the authority concerned and the complainant is informed of the action.
Misdiagnosis of patients
Performing wrong surgery and procedure
Mismanagement resulting in complications
Unsatisfactory service or result
Negligence by healthcare professionals