x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Clinic that stored food in medicine fridge among Abu Dhabi health violators

Noor Al Ain Medical Centre - no relation to Al Noor Hospital - is one of many health facilities to have been referred to the Health Authority Abu Dhabi over the past three months for violations.

Noor Al Ain Medical Centre  has been given one month to comply with health and safety regulations.
Noor Al Ain Medical Centre has been given one month to comply with health and safety regulations.

ABU DHABI // A medical clinic and three pharmacies have been shut down after health inspectors found a catalogue of hygiene and  health and safety offences.

Watchdogs have also uncovered scams in which false information has been provided by applicants for licences to practise, including references from overseas hospitals that turned out not to exist.

Inspectors found chicken, butternut squash, vegetables and drinking water stored in a fridge meant for storing medicine at Noor Al Ain Medical Centre. It has been closed and given a month to comply with regulations. If it fails to improve conditions, it will be closed permanently.

Other offences at Noor Al Ain – which is not connected to Al Noor Hospital in Abu Dhabi – included improper disposal of latex gloves, improper storage of equipment and risk of contamination caused by staff leaving food on the same tray as surgical implements.

“There are so many violations regarding patient safety, infection control and all these things,” said Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, the director of customer care and corporate communication at the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi. “I don’t think you want to go there.”

The authority also referred to court the cases of two staff who falsified records to gain employment in the healthcare industry, and banned another professional from practising in Abu Dhabi although he is licensed in his home country.

“Our team discovered that this guy was actually suspended for six years in his country because of alcohol addiction. Because we felt, in the committee, there is a risk behind this approval, we rejected the licensing of this professional,” Dr Al Kaabi said.

Applicants who submit paperwork as part of their licence application must also provide a letter from their previous employer detailing their professional experience, a process that the authority found was being manipulated.

“We discovered that there are several entities, in different countries outside the UAE, falsifying all the information,” said Dr Al Kaabi.

“For example, someone said, ‘I worked in an ICU,’ and when we sent people to the hospital there was no hospital there. It was a fake place. The decision was to make a record of all these facilities, like a blacklist.”

The names of any facilities found to be falsifying information will be disclosed to the Ministry of Health and Dubai Health Authority, said the doctor.

Other facilities were closed, or have received warnings. Dalma Pharmacy and Middle East Pharmacy in Abu Dhabi were for permitting someone other than a pharmacist to dispense medicine, and will reopen only when they have hired the appropriate staff. One other pharmacy has been shut for 60 days for unsspecified reasons.

The owner of Royal Dental Clinic received a warning after it was discovered that an employee was working as a dentist without a proper licence. Another was working as an assistant despite having no medical background. The centre will remain open but has two months to hire new staff.

The warnings and punishments were handed out by the Haad licensing committee at a meeting last month.

“The licensing committee usually meets bi-weekly to discuss all the issues presented to them by the health system compliance team or other departments,” said Dr Al Kaabi.

The committee also looked at school requests to provide an adequate number of male and female nurses to treat male and female pupils respectively.

“If there is a man as a nurse and a female pupil, or vice versa, then this is not allowed by the law,” said the doctor. “We requested that there needs to be two nurses in each school.

“Abu Dhabi Education Council said they could not comply with this, and that they need one year, and we approved this request.”

A request by Emirates French Hospital to reopen an obstetrics/gynaecology operation room was also looked at by the committee.

Closed this year after a fatality, the hospital will be reaudited before a final decision is made.

One of the last items discussed was whether to merge the auditing and licensing processes, Dr Al Kaabi said.

“A long time ago this was the case but because there was a delay in the issuing of the healthcare facility licensing, we decided both process should be separated.

“So you can get your licence as a facility without being inspected.”

Final decisions about several of the disciplinary cases will be made at the next committee meeting.

zalhassani@thenational.ae