Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Encourage Emiratis in health-care field

A change in the training system for Emirati medical personnel, shortening the interning period, will be a step forward for both medical care and Emiratisation

On average, a doctor pursuing a medical career spends five years in training and a surgeon spends seven years. Given that investment, many Emiratis might be reluctant to enter the profession if it meant leaving their families and spending that period abroad.

Like education, the healthcare sector depends on the involvement of citizens. A country should not rely entirely on foreign expertise to provide health-care services, a point the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD) is working on.

As The National reported yesterday, the authority has eased the licensing requirements for medical graduates to help them develop skills in the workplace. Instead of having to complete two years of experience, graduates can now be licensed after they complete a one-year internship. The new policy circumvents the Catch-22 situation where a graduate cannot work without a licence and cannot obtain a licence without experience, which would often compel graduates to travel abroad looking for jobs.

Although most health professionals who work abroad eventually return, making it easier for them to hone their skills inside the country will help to boost the number of UAE nationals in the health sector. But this is just an initial step. To make an Emiratised health sector a reality, more steps should be taken. More training hospitals and more placements in those hospitals should be introduced.

The major hospitals in Abu Dhabi, like Khalifa Medical City and Mafraq Hospital, do offer such placements but they are restricted in numbers. Smaller hospitals, especially private hospitals, do not offer internships mainly because they do not wish to invest in new graduates, preferring an immediate return on investment by hiring qualified doctors. This is a misguided policy and these hospitals should be encouraged, possibly through financial incentives, to open placements for new graduates and train them under supervision.

As it stands, the proportion of Emiratis in the capital's health sector is declining, from 7.1 per cent last year to 6.4 per cent this year. There is a particular shortage in physicians (only 1 per cent of physicians are Emiratis) and nurses. This is partly because the sector is expanding but health authorities must continue to encourage Emiratis to improve their skills inside the country.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National