Abu Dhabi: Health Authority Abu Dhabi has recently approved 34 healthcare policies and is planning to introduce up to one hundred more in 2008, say officials.
These policies will cover areas such as the licensing of healthcare professionals and health facilities; healthcare professional examinations; health inspections; hospital referrals and transfers; continuous medical education and training, as well as completion of the health insurance programme for all residents through enrollment of UAE nationals in 2008.
One important policy in the making deals with emergency situations. It will give nurses and paramedics the right to administer life saving measures such as Administration Electrical Defibrillation (AED) in situations where this can save lives.
"Our aim is to develop our infrastructure in order to facilitate the development and management of healthcare policies. We have recently purchased a 'Policy Manager Software' which enables us to speed up the publishing, distribution, testing, review and revision of policies.
"Last year we finalised and approved 34 new policies. Ultimately a thoroughly governed health system requires hundreds more," said Dr Durre Chowdhury, a member of the Health Care Policy (HCP) Team at the HAAD.
The HCP identifies all gaps in the system and develops new health policies by looking at what other countries do, and scrutinising scientific literature, best practice standards and medical records.
A draft is then prepared after structured consultations with local experts and legal review to ensure compliance with federal law. Only when all this has been successfully completed will the policy be approved by the HAAD Division Director and Chairman.
"We plan to update and upgrade our policies regularly and to keep the 33 hospitals CEOs, emergency department heads and medical directors, as well as all primary care providers well informed about changes they need to be aware of," said Chowdhury.
"Compliance with the policies is checked by the HAAD's Inspection Teams and by means of Quality Audits," said Obaid Al Ameri who leads the Complaints Investigation Team. "But most breaches tend to come to light through our structured Complaints Process."
Complaints are reviewed by independent expert review panels, inside or outside the country. If there is evidence of negligence, malpractice, or professional misconduct, cases are referred to the HAAD's Disciplinary Committee.
"In order to be licensed to practice in Abu Dhabi heath professionals are required to sit the HAAD's standardised examinations which consist of two parts, oral and written," said Hasna Al Beloushi, Leader of one of the Health Professional Licensing Teams at the HAAD.
Licensing of health professionals falls into four distinct categories, namely for Physicians (GPs and hospital doctors), Practical & Registered Nurses, Dental & Clinical Support Professions, and Pharmacist & Pharmacy Technicians.