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New decree paves way for stricter fines, increased transparency in Dubai health care

Licensing decree for medical professionals and establishments announced

Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News Archives
A surgery at a hospital in Dubai-Photo for illustrative purpose only.
Gulf News

Dubai: To enhance transparency and ensure top-notch health care standards, new and increased penalties — by up to 400 per cent, will be effective from next month under a new executive council decree. 
The penalties are for breaches by health care professionals and facilities.

The details of the new decree Law No. 32 for the licensure of health care professionals and health facilities, were made available by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) on Monday.

The decree provides for stringent licensing regulations with new as well as heftier fines to ensure the highest quality of health care and patient protection.

Simultaneously, the new decree makes it easier for highly specialised medical professionals to obtain licences and for facilities to reinstate licences if suspended. The new financial penalties include those for non-issuance of an electronic sick leave by a medical facility.

Certain older penalties have increased, for example, for a facility that has changed its address without intimation, and for a practising unlicensed health care professional. The latter has been increased to Dh50,000.

The fines will apply to 22 private hospitals and 19,554 health care professionals licensed by the DHA.

The decree will be implemented by a centralised medical practice committee that will oversee the licensing of medical professionals and facilities, monitoring of health care facilities, and implementing penalties for violations.

The medical practice committee will also have, under its aegis, a grievance committee that will deal with appeals towards complaints lodged against health care professionals and facilities.

In the beginning of 2013, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, instructed a permanent committee affiliated with the DHA to propose and review the rules, conditions and standards of medical practice in the emirate as well as the penalties for ethical, technical and administrative breaches.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Ramadan Ebrahim, Director of DHA Health Regulation, and Dr Laila Mohammad Al Marzouqi, head of clinical governancee, said the new decree consolidated older policies. It has provisions for areas like the appeals for a revoked/suspended licence and the encouragement of new medical specialities like that of a hospitalist.

“Latest healthcare trends have been considered to finalise the decree,” said Dr Ebrahim.

Until now, the regulatory policies weren’t implemented under one centralised body, said Dr Laila.

“With the formation of the new medical practice committee, a sole body will regulate all areas from licensing of professionals and medical faculties to the penalties for violations,” she said.

When asked how the new decree will impact licensing professionals like physicians, dentists and nurses, Dr Laila said that the centralised process will be less challenging and newer and rare specialities such as a hospitalist will be given the required support.

“The bigger picture is that the decree will enhance transparency, fairness, raise quality of health care and protect patients’ safety and rights as well as align Dubai’s vision to promote itself as a medical tourism destination,” said Dr Laila.

The decree, under law No 9 of 20, exempts Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), which is regulated by an independent body, the Centre for Healthcare Planning and Quality (CPQ).