Abu Dhabi The licences of 15 doctors were suspended last year after it was found that they were practising medicine in non-medical institutions, including massage parlours, a senior official at the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) confirmed Wednesday.
"The doctors' licences as well as the licences of eight clinics and medical centres were revoked after several serious violations were discovered by our inspectors in 2011," the official, who declined to be named, said.
"HAAD also issued warnings to five doctors, five nurses as well as 11 hospitals and one clinic," he added.
The senior official said that 10 chiefs of medicine, besides hospital and clinic owners, were among those found to have violated various codes set by civic authorities.
"Among the violations that were documented across these cases included practising medicine without a licence or practising in fields outside their speciality, the occurrence of medical errors and doctors writing prescriptions without examining patients," he said.
"We also discovered several doctors and technicians who have forged official documents, including an anaesthesiologist who was blacklisted in Britain and is now working in Abu Dhabi. Another violator who was caught was a ‘nurse' who tried to flee her workplace because she was not licensed to carry out such duties. They were then referred to public prosecution for further action," the official said.
Criteria for nurses
According to the Licensing Committee at HAAD, a nursing licence can be issued only to those that can provide proof of at least two years' experience in a specialised nursing hospital in the emirate.
The HAAD representative also reiterated the authority's instructions that only medical institutions may provide ‘one-day surgery' services, which are also limited to those using a ‘scope', such as colonoscopies or lasers. This is in accordance with Section 26 of the Medical Responsibility Law (No 10) which came out in 2008. It mandates that insurance must be provided to all medical employees against dangers resulting from practising medicine.
"Any medical centre that wishes to practise such diagnostic and treatment services should approach the Technical Committee for Running Institutional Licences at HAAD and request that they adjust the centre's licence to a one-day surgery centre licence provided that all requirements are met," he said.
Herbal centres providing alternative therapies in the capital, including treatments such as acupuncture, are not recognised as medical centres under HAAD's guidelines, he added. "Since we do not recognise them as such, they have not been provided with medical licences."
Crackdown: Massage parlours
Gulf News had reported in February that the Abu Dhabi Municipality shut down six massage centres last year and issued final warnings to five massage parlours for violations that included flouting hygiene standards and prescribing medical products.
The violators received fines ranging between Dh3,000 and Dh10,000. The licence of another centre was revoked after it was discovered that it was providing indecent services.
The municipality also warned such establishments against offering their clients services by masseurs of the opposite sex.