x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Emirates sign health agreement

Doctors in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will now find it much easier to practise across the two emirates after a new partnership between their health authorities.

DUBAI // Doctors in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will now find it much easier to practise across the two emirates after a new partnership between their health authorities.

The Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (Haad) and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday, agreeing to unify licensing procedures to make it faster for healthcare professionals to obtain permission to work in both emirates.

Zaid Al Siksek, the chief executive of Haad, said the streamlined process would "be cutting the application time in half".

"It's about patients having access to good health care and doctors being able to choose where they wish to practise - it benefits everyone."

Mr Al Siksek said the initiative would "raise the level" of healthcare professionals through the exchange of experiences and "best working mechanisms" in both authorities.

He said a complete exchange of information between the two emirates through a shared database was in the pipeline.

Until now, health practitioners had to undergo the tedious application process of obtaining another assessment and primary source verification, which could take months depending on the specialisation. Now they will be able to bypass this process by registering for the new licence online, which is expected to take about a week.

"This makes the procedure less time consuming and hassle free, and facilitates movement of healthcare professionals across both the emirates," said Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, the director general of the DHA.

Mr Al Murooshid said the two emirates will be "outsourcing each other".

"Technically, we are just making life much easier for everyone," he said.

Dr Hatem Al Ameri, the manager of health professionals licensing at Haad, said the initiative was "logical thinking".

"If the verification, examination and credential processes are the same in both emirates, it makes sense to cross-recognise," Dr Al Ameri said. "If we recognise the process, we must recognise the outcome."

Dr Ramadan Ibrahim, the director of health regulation at the DHA, said the streamlined process would also make it easier for doctors visiting from overseas to work in both emirates.

Dr Ibrahim, who estimates there are about 18,000 licensed healthcare professionals in Dubai, said it would be an incentive for specialists to "extend their services".

molson@thenational.ae