Doctors banned after surprise inspections

The Ministry of Health has banned seven physicians from practising in the UAE and closed 15 private healthcare facilities after random inspections last year.

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SHARJAH // Seven private doctors were banned from practising medicine and 15 private medical facilities were closed last year after spot-checks by inspectors.

Some doctors were caught prescribing unnecessary drugs solely to turn patients into addicts dependent on them for supplies.

Eight doctors were suspended during the checks on licensed private-sector doctors and facilities in Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Umm al Qaiwain and Ras al Khaimah.

The surprise visits were conducted regularly throughout the year in all the northern Emirates, Dr Amin al Amiri, the assistant undersecretary for medical practices and licensing at the Ministry of Health and head of the medical licensing committee that oversees the inspections, said yesterday.

"We adopt international health standards in medical and health licensing and conduct our inspections to ensure a commitment to the ministry's by-laws and regulations," he said. "We have increased our inspections significantly in 2010, and especially among the private healthcare facilities."

The medical licensing committee issued warnings to 11 private clinics for minor violations such as failing to renew licences in time or not clearly displaying prices.

"We usually issue a verbal warning for a mistake found, then check back in a few weeks to make sure the problem has been rectified," Dr al Amiri said. "If not, we issue a written warning. Our third step is to suspend the facility if they persist in their violation."

Eleven facilities were closed temporarily and four permanently for violations of ministry bylaws. Seven doctors were warned and 15 suspended for medical malpractice. Eight of the 15 were given temporary suspensions while malpractice complaints were investigated. The remaining seven were blacklisted and forbidden from practising medicine in the UAE.