Ameen Hussain Al Amiri speaks at the health ministry’s seminar on health regulations, in Dubai. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: By 2021, all health-care facilities in the UAE will have international accreditation from recognised medical bodies either from the US, Canada or Australia, said a senior health official at a seminar on Thursday.

The number of cases of medical malpractice will also be brought down to the very minimum by that time, Dr Ameen Hussain Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary of Public Health Policy and Licensing Sector at the Ministry of Health and Prevention, while reviewing two key points of the National Health Agenda.

The annual review exercise was in line with the UAE Vision 2021 and these two key health regulatory indicators were part of the 52 indicators that the government had set as part of the National Agenda 2021.

“As part of UAE Vision 2021, we want the best for our residents and citizens. At the moment, nearly 70 per cent international accreditation has been reached and we want that across the entire health-care spectrum — more than 4,000 facilities including general and speciality hospitals, ambulatory services, clinics, polyclinics, and primary and tertiary care centres — achieve a standard that is recognised with this accreditation,” Dr Al Amiri said.

The second health regulatory indicator concerns the Medical Malpractices Law No. 4 of 2016 which seeks to bring down cases of medical malpractices to a minimum number by 2021.

Dr Al Amiri explained how the law sought to protect the rights of the patient as well as uphold best medical practices in the country. A patient who suspects he has been a victim of a medical malpractice can register a complaint with the relevant health authority of his emirate. The complaint will be referred to the medical liability committee which will examine the case and either take a decision or refer it to the court. The court will make a ruling in the case and if the patient or the health-care facility is still not satisfied, they can appeal to the supreme committee which can overthrow the court ruling and review the case but its decision will be final. There is no further appeal after that.

Punishments range from suspension or cancellation of medical licences to imprisonment and financial compensation.

“We want a system that upholds the patient’s rights as well as upholds best practices in health care and augments the reputation of the country. The cost of health care in this country is going up. According to the Business Monitor International, a European monitoring body, the cost of health care in the UAE stood at Dh62.1 billion at the end of 2016 and is forecast to go up to Dh106 billion by 2026,” Dr Al Amiri said.

“The health-care sector is expanding in the UAE with more public-private partnerships, international joint ventures coming up and along with the economic cost of health care, we want the quality and standards to be steadily and progressively maintained to match the best in the world.”