Dubai will allow general practitioners to perform minor cosmetic procedures for the first time.
Dubai Healthcare City Authority, which regulates the medical freezone, said it would grant licences to doctors who have completed a training programme.
Doctors with the licence can administer dermal fillers, chemical peels and cosmetic dermatology treatments was well as offer body contouring and treatment for scarring, among other procedures.
“The new licence will enable GPs, with the right experience and training, to expand their specialisation, increasing the free zone’s specialised expertise and expanding its talent pool," said Dr Ramadan Al Blooshi, chief regulatory officer at Dubai Healthcare City Authority, on Sunday.
Previously, these procedures could only be conducted by plastic surgeons and dermatologists or GPs being supervised by a surgeon.
Dubai has one of the highest concentrations of plastic surgeons in one city — close to 250 medics — and more than 380 dermatologists.
More than 270 clinics or hospitals offer such procedures, Dubai Health Authority said last year.
Although there are no publicly available figures for the value of the cosmetic surgery to the economy, it is thought to form a significant part of the country's medical tourism sales, which hit Dh12.1 billion in 2018, according to research by Euromonitor and Fitch Solutions.
To acquire a licence, medics must have completed a recognised aesthetic medicine training programme including theoretical and practical components and an assessment.
They also need three years of supervised experience in the field of aesthetic medicine and 200 cases of proven track record.
For non-DHCC licensed healthcare professionals, in addition to the above mentioned requirements, they must have a bachelor of medicine from an accredited university and complete at least one year of supervised structured clinical training. Applicants will be granted the licence if they pass a Dubai Healthcare City Authority assessment.
Dr Rory McGoldrick, a plastic surgeon and trainer for non-surgical aesthetic treatments at King's College Hospital London in Dubai, said the move should be seen as a tightening rather than relaxing of regulations.
“I think the community of plastic surgeons and aesthetic practitioners in the UAE will welcome the fact that the authorities are focusing on extensive training in order to protect patients’ well-being and safety,” he said.