By Joanna Hartley
New regulatory agency aims to set higher standards for healthcare in the emirate.
All health professionals working in Dubai will have to be relicensed as part of the overhaul of the regulatory system.The move is part of plans set out by the new regulatory agency, set up by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in August, Medical Times has learnt.
The agency, which has yet to be named, is in charge of streamlining the licensing process, setting new quality standards, monitoring compliance, carrying out inspections and investigating complaints.
Details of the relicensing process have yet to be finalised, but will affect around 700 clinics, 6,000 doctors, all nurses and other health professionals.
Only facilities run by the Ministry of Health will be exempt from the ruling, said Dr Essa Kazim, head of the DHA’s regulation team.
Underperformers will not be shut down, or stopped from practising, but will receive a period of grace to meet the required standards of service provision or professional practice, Dr Kazim said.
“If they do not fulfill the criteria then yes they will lose their license, but they will be given a period of time to achieve the standards - because the last thing we want to do is to deprive the population of healthcare,” Dr Kazim said.
Names and scopes of practice for every licensed doctor will be published on the regulatory agency’s website. Quality ratings for every facility will be published too.
“It is an area that is notoriously difficult, but we are looking at waiting times, length of time in hospital, infections rates and catheter infection rates,” Dr Kazim told MT.
Public safety will underpin every policy and standard, and patients will be encouraged to feed into the complaints system, so healthcare facilities can learn from their mistakes, Dr Kazim added.