In a landmark order, the national consumer disputes redressal commission has made it mandatory for all medical practitioners and hospitals across the country to provide the entire medical records of a patient to himher or the authorised nominee or legal authorities concerned within 72 hours of the demand. Simultaneously, the commission asked the Medical Council of India to promulgate a comprehensive notification. Accordingly, a week ago, the MCI directed medical practitioners and hospitals to provide the medical records of a patient within three days of the request. “In any set of circumstances, hospitalsmedical practitioners shall hand over the medical records of the patient to him or his relatives within 72 hours,” the MCI said in its circular. The commission’s directives, followed by the MCI circular, assume significance since the general tendency among medical practitioners and hospitals has been either to avoid a request for medical records or delay it for obvious reasons. However, Hinduja Hospital director G B Davar welcomed the move, saying it was in the interest of patients. A former dean of J J Hospital, Davar said parting with medical records would improve the relationship between the doctor and the hospital. “If all records are made available to a patient immediately, there will be no scope for doubt of any kind,” he said.