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Wed 3 Dec 2008 07:16 AM

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Health chiefs back new nursing council plan

New independent body set to address key issues for nurses and midwives in UAE.

Government health officials in the UAE have given the go-ahead for the formation of an independent council of nurses and midwives.

The council will oversee professional education, development and on-going regulation of the professions across the country.

The autonomous body, which should be set up by the end of the year, also has the patronage of Princess Haya Bint Hussein, wife of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Chief nurse at the Ministry of Health, Fatima Al Rifai, lead member of a task force set up to develop the initiative, welcomed the news.

“This is a great and proud moment for many nurses and midwives in the UAE. There is a need to recognise nursing and midwifery. We are witnessing a very important further step towards that,” she said.

Four principles will underpin the council’s work; public safety, professional development and research, the setting of care standards and a regulatory framework that will clearly define scopes of practice.

“This will be built on patient safety and the professional autonomy and nursing and midwifery. It will empower the profession,” added Fatma Abdulla, a nurse who runs her own consultancy firm.

Workforce issues would also be a key area of work for the council, whose structure will be finalised before the end of the year, added Lauren Arnold, head of nursing at University Hospital, Dubai.

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