x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Complete Emiratisation of health sector 'impossible': Haad

More effort should be made to hang on to expatriate workers, a Health Authority- Abu Dhabi official says.

ABU DHABI // Admitting that complete Emiratisation of the health sector is currently impossible, more effort should be made to hang on to the expatriate workforce, a Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (Haad) official said yesterday.

At a forum on workforce strategies for the next decade, Dr Hatem Al Ameri, head of higher education at Haad, said the proportion of UAE nationals in Abu Dhabi's health sector is declining - from 7.1 per cent last year to 6.4 per cent this year.

That is largely the result of the overall expansion of the sector - "an influx of 4,000 to 5,000 from outside," said Dr Al Ameri. It masks an increase from 1,145 Emiratis to 1,328.

Only four per cent of Emirati students are studying medicine and health science - against 36 per cent studying business and IT.

"A lot of people are coming in to work in health care," he said. "The percentage [of nationals] becomes lower and lower by year."

The two professions in most urgent need of Emiratis are nurses and doctors. "In nursing, only one per cent are UAE nationals," he said. "Most nurses [come] from India and Philippines - 50 per cent of them coming from two or three countries.

"What is even more scary is with emergency physicians, there is only one per cent Emiratisation there. In anaesthesia and ICU, none are nationals - this is very critical." He said there was a need to attract doctors who would stay in the long run."We are sustained by mobile health care expatriates, which is not good."