The management of a public hospital in Abu Dhabi has been accused of discrimination between national and expatriate patients. Scores of expat visitors of Al Corniche Hospital claimed that the management is being biased while treating them in terms of appointment schedules and favouring nationals. They complained that they are always kept waiting at the tail of the queue.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 28 Dec 2005, 1:39 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:55 PM

Most of the patients who spoke to Khaleej Times grieved the fact they are often denied access to the doctors on duty, despite being previously given an appointment, because a national patient has turned up late for medical examination.

Some complainants who are frequent visitors at the hospital deplored the ill-treatment that has been going on for years at the health facility, which is considered the biggest gynaecology and obstetric hospital in the region. Nurses in-charge and the Customer Service Department at the hospital, said they are just following the administration instructions.

Yassir Ramadan, an employee at Logistic Design and Decor said: “We have been waiting for three hours to see the doctor. I had excused myself from office for a couple of hours according to our previously fixed appointment by the hospital administration. However, to my surprise, the nurse in charge said my wife could not see the doctor because a national has turned up and that priority should be given to nationals.”

A Palestinian patient who declined to mention her name said: “The administration’s discrimination has been going on for a long time. Since I had my elder daughter five years ago, sisters used to return my file once a national showed up without respecting my right to being first. An officer at the Customer Service Department at the hospital said: “We receive some complaints from expatriate patients on appointments, demanding it should be fair and equal. It is the administration’s instructions that priority should be given to nationals, except in emergency cases.” The sister in charge said: “We have clear instructions from the management that nationals should be given precedence. We cannot help it.”

Najma Al Nuaimi, in charge of appointments, accused the staff of misusing the administration’s instructions, saying she was against discrimination between patients in terms of appointment. “Expat patients should not be turned down for the sake of a national patient who was already late and didn’t respect the hospital schedule. People should be treated equally. The current situation is wrong and should be changed so as not to create hard feelings between nationals and non-nationals.” An official source at the administration, who requested anonymity, stressed: “There should be no discrimination between nationals and expatriates. We would raise the issue at the Supervision Committee.”

“However,” said the official, “pressure on the hospital causes confusion in terms of appointments, and the matter needs to be well addressed.”

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