Dubai: Authorities are clamping down on inadequate ambulances and first aid training facilities at private health care centres, and are using Canada’s regulations as a benchmark to keep local services up to international standards.

Dr Fahad Al Zarouni, head of regulation of ambulance services at Dubai Ambulance Services announced on Monday that up to 40 per cent of health care centres have yet to be registered with the authority.

“The rule was implemented last October because we recorded that a number of ambulances were not equipped with the necessary devices and also had low quality nurses,” he said, explaining that a significant number of ambulances lacked in offering the basic services to patients.

As part of Dubai Ambulance Service’s aim to maintain high quality of services, health care facilities that own ambulances, in addition to first aid training centres, have been instructed to register with the authority by August 31 to avoid hefty fines and possibly being shut down.

“Once the deadline passes, private health care facilities that use ambulances will not be able to operate them without a registered license from us, as the registration process involves them adhering to a set of criteria,” Dr Al Zarouni said.

He further noted that several professionals working in first aid centres, including emergency medical technicians, paramedics and ambulance drivers, were not well educated about the standard level of procedures to which they have to adhere to.

Health care professionals and facilities will be slapped with a fine of Dh1,000 if they fail to adhere to the principles of professional conduct adopted by the authority or if they do not operate under the supervision of a licensed physician.

If the offences are repeated within a year, the penalty will then be doubled up to Dh2,000 and in certain circumstances, the health care facility or the professional will be unable to work for six months, and may also have their license revoked.

“Part of the criteria, which is based on Canada’s health regulations, states that health care professionals should not have a police record of misconduct, have ample experience that is approved by the facility as well as having certified qualifications,” said Dr Al Zarouni.