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Mon 20 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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HAAD backs malpractice export policy

Abu Dhabi’s leading health agency has defended its decision to farm out potential medical malpractice cases to foreign consultancy firms.

Abu Dhabi's leading health agency has defended its decision to farm out potential medical malpractice cases to foreign consultancy firms.

Since January, Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) has been outsourcing cases to three US firms that specialise in medical negligance complaints.

The cases, around five a month, are reviewed by a team of medical professionals and lawyers whose recommendations are then forwarded to the health authority, which then decides what action to take.

The policy was received warily by Abu Dhabi's private health sector. A spokesperson for the emirate's Hospital Private Committee, which represents 14 hospitals, said physicians were concerned foreign firms wouldn't understand the local health system.

"Abu Dhabi can't be compared with the US," he said. "There are different best practice standards in every country, so I don't see how foreign experts could judge local cases."

But Dr Khalid Mohammed Fulad, director of healthcare system compliancy at HAAD, said cases were now resolved more quickly and fairly.

"We [went] international for one reason: we want to save time. It sometimes took two to three meetings for the same case - so it can take months. Now, it can take just 10 days."

"Also the country is very small so doctors from each speciality know each other and it can get personal."

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