Private hospitals authorised to teach

Private hospitals regulated and licensed by the Ministry of Health can apply to become teaching hospitals if all conditions are in place.

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DUBAI // Private hospitals regulated and licensed by the Ministry of Health can apply to become teaching hospitals if all conditions are in place, said officials at the ministry.

Dr Hanif Hassan, the Minister of Health, issued a decree yesterday that allows private hospitals with a minimum of 50 beds and certain specified specialities to adopt the international standards required to become teaching institutes for medical students and interns.

Dr Amin al Amiri, the assistant undersecretary for medical practices and licenses at the ministry, said most of the hospitals covered by the policy are in the Northern Emirates.

"We have received a great response from hospitals," which "are eager to be on board," he said.

Al Zahra Private Hospital in Sharjah and the Zulekha Hospitals in both Dubai and Sharjah are examples of the institutions eligible.

Dr Kishan Pakkal, the director of operations at Zulekha, said the ministry's plan to authorise teaching in such hospitals "is for the benefit of all." His hospitals had not yet received notification of the new option, he said, but "this is a very good move that we will be happy to comply with." "We definitely want to see how we can be involved and if we meet criteria, then we want to be part of this."

The criteria are crucial, said Prof Dr Mohammed-Yousef Bani Yas, vice-provost for medical sciences at the UAE University in Al Ain and dean of the faculty of medicine and community science.

By law, he said, "50 per cent of a medical student's training is spent in a hospital, so there must be [high] standards in place".

Involving private hospitals in teaching and training students is welcome, he said, as long as the logistical backbone is in place.

"There has to be an independent body evaluating the necessary criteria and insuring the qualifications and credentials of doctors doing the teaching, the clinical services of the hospital, the number of patients and the diversity of cases, the space for students to have classes, and so on," he said.

In order for a hospital to be awarded accreditation as a teaching institutes, it must be affiliated with an academic institution, university or medical college that is under the jurisdiction of the country's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Only hospitals with a minimum of 50 beds - to allow for one student for every five beds - will be considered, said Mr al Amiri.

To be eligible, a hospital must also have a number of specialisations: internal medicine, cardiology, renal medicine, infectious diseases, oncology, hematology, surgery departments such as general surgery, vascular surgery, neurosurgery and cosmetic surgery, and gynaecology and obstetrics as well as emergency wards and newborn infant departments, must all be present.

Interns, doctors-in-training, will also receive the opportunity to train in the orthopaedics surgery clinics, ear, nose and throat clinics, dermatology clinics and outpatient clinics - all under the supervision of their teaching doctors.

"The hospital must have scientific activities for the students three times a week, to include rounds and medical studies and seminars, and it will be continuously monitored by the ministry," Dr al Amiri said.

All students will be fully supervised by doctors at all times, at a rate of one supervisor for every four students, he said.