The UAE on Tuesday set out plans to raise standards in the healthcare sector by introducing a national register of licensed professionals and imposing tougher penalties on rogue establishments.
The UAE government has approved a number of federal decrees as part of efforts to tighten regulations related to nursing, laboratories, medical physics, functional therapy, physiotherapy, aesthetics, anaesthesia, audiology and radiology.
The new measures will involve stricter punishments for healthcare workers operating without licences and those found to be unfit to carry out their duties.
The new legislation does not include doctors or pharmacists, the government said in a release carried by state news agency Wam. The government has set up a national medical register for healthcare professionals at the Ministry of Health and Prevention.
Individual health authorities across the country will create their own databases that will be linked to the national register.
Fines of up to Dh1 million and imprisonment
Under the amended laws, healthcare facilities that flout the rules face fines of up to Dh1 million or temporary closure for up to six months.
Workers practising without licenses or who provide false information to secure licences can be hit with fines of between Dh50,000 and Dh100,00 as well as imprisonment.
The UAE government said that workers must have a bachelor’s degree or a health profession qualification recognised in the country to be licensed.
Health professional must also “be of a good conduct, and should be medically fit to perform their duties”, the government said.
“The law also requires healthcare professionals to perform their duties with the precision and trust required by the profession, pursuant to the generally accepted scientific and technical standards, and in line with the dignity and honour of the profession”.
Healthcare workers are prohibited from selling or promoting medicines or samples to patients, or directing them to purchase medicines from a particular pharmacy.
It also bars them from submitting false documents or incorrect data to health authorities or their employer or disclosing sensitive information related to patients.
Fines of between Dh10,000 and Dh100,000 can be handed out to anyone who practices without a licence but has met the conditions to obtain one.
Attracting foreign investment
In an effort to enhance overseas participation in the medical field, the updated laws will allow for foreign entrepreneurs and investors to establish and own veterinary facilities.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has established a national register for veterinary surgeons, practitioners and assistants authorised to practise in the country.