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Wed 6 Aug 2008 04:00 AM

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UAE authorities plan split from Arab Medical Board

The United Arab Emirates may cuts ties with the Arab Board of Medical Specialisations, after news Abu Dhabi is to spearhead a move towards an independent medical board.

The United Arab Emirates may cuts ties with the Arab Board of Medical Specialisations, after news Abu Dhabi is to spearhead a move towards an independent medical board.

A five-year plan by Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HA-AD) is tasked with developing existing specialist training programmes, and encouraging more Emirati doctors into postgraduate education.

The ultimate aim is to form an independent medical board to oversee training. This would reduce dependency on foreign medical authorities, and offer better opportunities to local doctors, who currently pursue specialist training abroad.

Dr Maysoon al Karam, the head of post-graduate education for HA-AD, said the Authority would begin by funding more internships in areas such as general surgery and paediatrics. "We need specialties. We need to be sufficient."

HAAD has said it intends to secure a 10% increase in the number of Emirati doctors in the next two years.

Dr Murray Van Dyke, chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), applauded the move, but cautioned that the training schemes must match international standards.

"The value of any organisation would depend on how much attention and resources they are willing to put into it, and how high a quality the certifying board can make it."

Currently, only Abu Dhabi and Dubai offer internships to graduate doctors. The training schemes work independently, but market rumours have suggested HA-AD and Dubai Health Authority may join forces if a sovereign medical board is established.

Dr Van Dyke, however, questioned whether a locally-run training scheme might prove too narrow for doctors.

"People go abroad for additional training but many come back too. It doesn't represent a real brain drain - in fact it represents a bonus situation because [the UAE] gets well-trained doctors."

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