FNC to enter health debate after nearly a year's delay

Members are expected to discuss health policy ranging from medication to delays in appointments.

Dr Abdulrahman Al Owais, Minister of Health, is expected to be quizzed on the UAE's health policy at the next FNC meeting. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National
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ABU DHABI // The Federal National Council will finally have the chance to scrutinise health policy tomorrow when members question the Minister of Health, Dr Abdul Rahman Al Owais.

Sultan Al Sammahi, secretary of the FNC health committee, said the council has been pushing for the debate for almost a year, with the minister repeatedly prevented from attending by other engagements.

But now a report by the committee will at last be considered. “It includes all the problems in the Ministry of Health and its direction,” he said. “Not just services, but also doctors, the Arab board, nursing, equipment, and everything else to do with the health industry.”

In preparing the report, the committee visited three government hospitals, Tawam in Al Ain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah. The latter two were found to have a shortage of medication and repeated delays in appointments.

The committee has also met with doctors from all over the country, he said.

Following the discussion, a set of recommendations will be sent to the Cabinet.

Before the debate, Dr Al Owais, who can now focus solely on his health job, having been relieved of his other post as Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development in last week’s reshuffle,  will face questions from Ahmed Al Shamsi (Ajman) over the formation of a federal authority to monitor medication and from Marwan bin Ghalita (Dubai) on routine health checks for Emiratis.

The Minister of Justice, Dr Hadif Al Dhaheri, and the Minister of Education, Humaid Al Qatami, are both also expected to attend tomorrow’s meeting.

Dr Al Dhaheri’s first question will come from Musabah Al Ketbi (Sharjah), who believes that delays in court cases, particularly the ones involving expatriates, have led to criticism from foreign countries of the UAE’s court system.

“If only cases were dealt with faster, there wouldn’t be room for such criticism,” he said. “Instead of a case taking up to 18 months, it could be speeded up to eight months or less without interfering with the court system.”

The public session will be held at the FNC headquarters in Abu Dhabi starting at 9am.