Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

High standards and accountability are at the heart of Dubai healthcare

Establishing robust systems and addressing problems swiftly ensures the best service for patients

Technology is allowing patients to take chare of their health in a more personalised way. The National
Technology is allowing patients to take chare of their health in a more personalised way. The National

Following two high-profile claims of negligence, Dubai Health Authority has taken swift and decisive action. The first case, in which a 24-year old Emirati woman suffered brain damage and slipped into a coma after a botched cosmetic procedure at First Med Day Surgery Centre, came to light last week. The second occurred days later, when Betty Rita Fernandes, aged 42, died following routine hip surgery at Al Zahra Hospital.

The authority immediately launched investigations into both cases and has instituted measures to ensure no one else is put at risk. Doctors involved in the mishandled cosmetic surgery have been ordered to stop practising and the centre itself has been prohibited from conducting procedures until inquiries are complete. A team of experts is also looking into Mrs Fernandes’s case. Dubai Health Authority announced that all medical facilities will soon receive an official letter, giving them 18 months to obtain international accreditation and that stricter regulations will apply to day surgeries.

The manner in which these incidents are being handled further strengthens Dubai's reputation for world-class care. Ninety-seven per cent of its hospitals already possess international accreditation and the authority says a target of fewer than two cases of negligence per 10,000 hospital admissions is well within reach. As we are all aware, surgical procedures do not have a 100 per cent success rate. Despite extraordinary advances, this is the reality of modern medicine. However, unsuccessful operations should never be the result of neglect or wrongdoing. Enforcing robust standards and creating an environment of transparency and accountability will help to ensure the safety of patients and protect medical professionals when unavoidable tragedies do occur.

The determined line taken by Dubai authorities is particularly important, given that its standing as a centre for regional healthcare is growing. Regulators have reported that 337,000 patients visited the emirate in 2018, and that it is on track to attract 500,000 medical tourists by 2020. Whether they are seeking complex operations or routine surgeries, patients from near or far should feel confident that they are receiving very high standards of care.

Updated: May 15, 2019 06:47 PM

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