Abu Dhabi: Patients complain that some hospitals hold on to their health records and refuse to release them when requested.

Abdullah R., an Emirati, said as he was unhappy with the medical care his mother was receiving, he asked the hospital for the medical reports, but it refused to give him a copy.

"It made me wonder. I then talked to people and used my 'wasta' or influence to get copies of the reports," he said. He claims that his mother had cholesterol problems and doctors had prescribed 10 different drugs for her.

But Abdullah adds that some hospitals now give the medical records due to the problems caused in the past. He claims that certain hospitals are now being managed from abroad and this is improving the situation. He thinks that it was due to lack of confidence that hospitals refused to give copies of the patient's medical reports.

An Emirati recently took his mother to be diagnosed at one of the public hospitals and they refused to give him a medical report. After speaking to officials he was finally given his mother's medical report two months later. He discovered that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

He claims that it did not want to give the report because he would be sending her mother abroad for treatment.

Health Authority officials said that any patient is allowed to access their medical reports.

"If the hospital or doctor refuses to give the report, a complaint can be filed," they said.

"In my opinion the medical record belongs to the patient. In the past nobody wanted to release the medical records, but now we feel it is important patients see their medical report. It is their right," said Dr. Kenneth Ourel, Chief Executive Officer, Shaikh Khalifa Medical Centre (SKMC).