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Wed 24 Dec 2008 07:53 AM

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Doctors question deadline for re-licensing

Dubai health regulaton move deemed unworkable by physicians.

A call for all Dubai’s doctors to report to a hotel over a two week period in January to apply for re-licensing, has been deemed unworkable by physicians and healthcare managers.

The move is part of a wholesale reform of licensing and regulation procedures being carried out by Dubai Health Authority (DHA) - the first phase of which is to reassess every doctor’s eligibility to practice in the emirate.

All 6,000 physicians working in Dubai at present has been told they must present in person at the Al Murooj Rotana hotel between January 16-30, to obtain a user name and password so they can apply for a new licence online.

However, healthcare managers and doctors are warning that the limited time frame, having to present in person and lack of detail on the re-licensing scheme will create problems.

“We do not have the information that’s the problem,” said Dr Ottmar Schmidt director of marketing and PR at Welcare World, which employs more than 100 doctors.

“The current situation is that everyone has to reregister and go and ask for an application paper in person, and that’s going to be very awkward,” he added.

Some clinics have approached the DHA to see if they can make a group application. Dr Carole Chidiac, medical director of The French Medical Centre, Jumeirah said: “Our human resource department is trying to find a way of doing it for the group so we do not have to go in person - I’m too busy to do that.”

The re-licensing process is mandatory and physicians failing to obtain a new license would be practicing illegally, the DHA said in response.

“This is an important process. Without it these professionals will no longer be able to practice so we are confident everyone will make the effort to come during these two weeks,” a spokesperson said.

Applications for re-licensing will go through a process of credentialing and primary source verification. Those that pass will automatically be issued with a new license.

Those that fail will be ‘grandfathered’ - requiring them to enter a personal contract with the DHA regulatory agency, which will identify further training needs, the DHA added.

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