Before registering a medical complaint, it is important to know which health authority to contact.
There are three health authorities in the UAE: the Ministry of Health, which governs some federal hospitals in Dubai and all those in the Northern Emirates, the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD), which regulates all health-care facilities in its emirate, and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), which regulates most facilities in Dubai.
Medical complaints in Abu Dhabi should be registered with the Customer Services Department at HAAD. To do this, complainants can call 800 800 or go to the office on Airport Road.
Complaints are accepted within a year from the incident. The complaint will then be investigated by the Clinical Reviews and Investigations Section, a process that normally takes three to six months.
Dr Sedra Al Mansouri, acting director for health system compliance with HAAD, said the investigation process includes revision of medical records supplied by the health-care facility involved, as well as an independent clinical investigation with the medical team involved in the treatment.
"A disciplinary action [will be taken] if a fault has been proven to the disciplinary committee," she said.
In Dubai, complaints must be registered in writing and presented in person at the DHA's clinical governance office within six months of the incident. The office will then take the necessary disciplinary action, whether that is a fine, a letter of notice, a warning letter, or a suspension or revocation of licence.
To lodge a complaint for services at facilities belonging to the Ministry of Health, a formal letter must be written to the ministry and given to its head office in Dubai.
In all cases where the patient needs financial compensation, the case will be referred to court.