All clinics in Dubai will soon have to comply with the health authority's new licensing programme or face sanctions. Previously, a number of clinics in hotels, schools, labour camps, malls and free zones were exempt from licensing by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). Dr Ramadan Ibrahim Mohammed, the authority's head of regulation, said the agency was not looking to take away licences.
"The idea is to have all the health facilities and professionals licensed under one body the Dubai Health Authority," he said. "We want to know exactly what we have in the emirate. It is not to close down anything; so far most of them have been of a good standard and in good shape." Facilities previously registered with other bodies such as the police, Ministry of Health and Dubai Healthcare City must now become part of the DHA's central database.
Once a facility has registered to receive its new licence card, it will undergo an inspection. Dr Mohammed said a grace period of several months is available in which fix any problems. Clinics and hospitals in Dubai operating without the proper licence could be closed two weeks and fined up to Dh5,000 (US$1,360), according to the health authority. The authority currently has about 1,900 facilities registered but is aware that a number remain unregistered. "We don't know the exact number," Dr Mohammed said. "This is why we are doing this. We are still getting information."
A circular distributed by the DHA explains the process and lists the penalties that will be applied if procedures are not followed. Health professionals without a licence from the authority are not permitted to work. Working without a licence would lead to a fine and a one-year ban from practising in the UAE. "We do not want to close any clinics but we need to ensure they come and register with the health authority," Dr Mohammed said. "We need to know what services are in the emirate so we can plan strategy."