UAE unveils new measures to shake up health sector

Hospital rankings, e-health systems to be introduced alongside plans to tackle obesity, cancer
UAE unveils new measures to shake up health sector
By Andy Sambidge
Mon 09 Dec 2013 06:27 PM

The UAE's Cabinet on Monday approved a raft of measures to improve the country's health sector including a system to evaluate hospitals and health clinics and measure customer satisfaction.

The extraordinary ministerial retreat on Sir Bani Yas Island also backed plans to introduce an e-healthcare programme to deliver primary health care services to remote regions, especially to elderly people.

The Cabinet also approved a package of measures to address obesity and promote healthy lifestyles, which includes limiting the size of fizzy drinks, and imposing controls on advertisement of unhealthy foods.

Other initiatives approved by senior government officials included a comprehensive screening programme for every UAE citizen in a bid to enhance disease prevention and launching an early cancer detection programme, news agency WAM reported.

Health chiefs will also establish a national database for medical records to allow easy referral of patients between government and private hospitals.

In his concluding remarks to the two-day ministerial retreat, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE's PM and vice-president, said: "The health of our citizens cannot be measured by any cost and treatment anywhere is a vested right for them."

He added that the government had drawn inspiration from the thousands of ideas and suggestions put forward by the public prior to the Cabinet retreat.

"It is our duty all to accelerate the pace of development and progress. With every day that passes, the government will be better than before because the source of new innovation and ideas, whether from citizens, employees or specialists, will never deplete and this is one of principles of action of our government."

The delivery of better medical services was a joint task for the federal and local governments and the private sector, he said.

Other health initiatives which received backing included standardising benchmarks of accrediting doctors and healthcare professionals, setting a strategy for establishing research centres in partnership with academic institutions, establishing a national cancer registry and launching a programme to attract more Emiratis to the nursing profession.

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