Abu Dhabi: The unification of licensing procedures for health care professionals across the UAE will soon enable doctors and medical staff licensed in one emirate to practise anywhere in the country, a senior health official said in the capital on Sunday.

Nearly 100 medical professionals licensed by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) already have their licences recognised by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) without having to undergo primary source verification and assessment procedures again, said Zaid Al Siksek, chief executive officer at the HAAD.

“The HAAD is now prepared to unify licensing procedures with the Ministry of Health, and this will be undertaken in 2013. When completed, it will benefit the health sector in the country as a whole,” Al Siksek said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the third edition of the World Health Care Congress Middle East, which saw nearly 600 government officials and industry executives meet to discuss the development of the health sector in the region. The current edition of the congress focuses on health care trends and strategies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The HAAD oversees licensing of health care professionals in Abu Dhabi, while the DHA oversees it in Dubai. The Ministry of Health is responsible for licensing professionals in other Northern Emirates.

Al Siksek said licensing procedures across the country had already become more uniform in the past two years.

He also told Gulf News that the HAAD would focus on increasing human capital in the emirate of Abu Dhabi’s health care sector in 2013.

“Strategies to increase emiratisation will form a key part of human capital development. Nearly 50 per cent of HAAD employees are already Emirati, and a team at the authority has been designated to look at ways of increasing the quality and number of Emirati health sector workers,” he added.

According to the official, a project to rank hospitals in the emirate is also ongoing at present.

“Health care facilities are being ranked based on the quality of care they provide and their adherence to HAAD standards. This project will be completed in the first quarter of 2013, and we will then look into sharing the results with the general public,” Al Siksek said.

2013 will also see the inauguration of private hospitals dedicated towards maternal and child care in both Abu Dhabi city and Al Ain.

An expected growth in the emirate’s health care sector has also prompted the HAAD to request for a bigger proportion of government spending to be dedicated to health care.

“Many new health care facilities will become operational in the next few years, and some existing HAAD projects require additional funding. The private sector is also growing. We have therefore requested a bigger budget, and are awaiting the Abu Dhabi Government’s decision,” Al Siksek said.