x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Dubai's new bill of health

Dubai Health Authority reforms its laws for healthcare workers and centres, including accepting medical qualifications from 30 more countries.

Essa Al Maidoor, Director General of Dubai Health Authority, at the Arab Health exhibition in Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre. Pawan Singh / The National
Essa Al Maidoor, Director General of Dubai Health Authority, at the Arab Health exhibition in Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // The health authority has announced an overhaul of its licensing regulations for healthcare centres and workers.

Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced at the opening of the Arab Health conference yesterday that it will update its Healthcare Professional Licensing Guide.

It means all healthcare laws will come under one banner, several new job titles have been recognised for specialist areas and medical licences from 30 more countries will be accepted by the DHA.

"There is a huge change. We put all the federal and local laws in one place so there is no hassle, there is no confusion," said Dr Ramadan Ibrahim, the authority's director of health regulation.

"There was no law embracing everything in one place. There was a law about pharmacies, a law about professionals, a law about facilities - so we took all these and put them in one place."

Dr Ibrahim said the old laws did not have enough weight to penalise licence breaches.

The DHA's licensing guide, which covers healthcare licences for physicians, allied health professionals, alternative medicine practitioners and nurses, has been modified to keep in-line with "worldwide trends and developments in the field", he said.

"It is a comprehensive guide and has updated information for seven different processes such as licensure for new professionals, transfer of licence, cancellation of licence, upgrading speciality of professionals, part-time requests, et cetera."

The guidelines are available on the DHA website and include details of general licence requirements.

Other changes include 25 new titles for physicians, 10 for dentists and an undisclosed number for allied health professionals.

Allowing for more titles increases the number of experts in a particular field, said Dr Mohammed Kayali, head of the health regulation section.

"In addition, we have introduced 30 new countries in the approved list of speciality certification, bringing the total number of countries to 70," said Dr Kayali.

Countries added to the list accepted by the DHA include Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, China, Estonia and South Korea.

New speciality titles for physicians include anatomical pathology and clinical pathology, endocrinology - including treatment of diabetes - gastroenterology, geriatrics medicine, haematology, immunology and paediatric cardiology.

Oral surgery has been added as a speciality licence for dentists.

The system upgrade will help the DHA to cope with the rise in demand for services, said Essa Al Maidoor, the director general.

"There is a growth in Dubai and in the region in general, and any growth, for sure, sometimes … goes at a different speed," Mr Al Maidoor said.

An e-inspection system, introduced recently, has found 1,500 licence offences.

"The thing is, a violation is a violation, like a doctor working without a licence," said Dr Ramadan. "That was the concept behind this. With this law, we are hoping to reduce the number of violations.

Offences include being in possession of expired medicine, and professionals working outside their area of expertise.

The upgrade follows regulations introduced at last year's Arab Health summit to close gaps between public and private centres.

They included measures such as the design and construction of health facilities, health records and dental protection to prevent infection.