Ministry of Health releases list of violations in UAE medical centres

The Medical Licenses Committee at the ministry issues notice to shut down a medical clinical centre for 60 days after discovering an employee carrying out unlicensed work

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Zaineb Al Hassani

ABU DHABI // The Ministry of Health yesterday released a list of medical centres that have been closed and healthcare workers who have lost their licences for breaching federal medical laws.

Several clinics had their licences to operate withdrawn for undisclosed reasons and a physician had his licence removed.

The list showed the ministry’s medical licences committee, which meets every two to three weeks, issued a notice to close a clinic for 60 days after discovering an employee was doing work for which they were not licensed.

The female employee, a technician, was working as a physiotherapist, the report said. She was also working without a supervisor.

The name of the centre was not available, nor was a date given for its closure, although all of the breaches listed in the report occurred last month.

"As per law the centre should have a doctor or a paramedic with a bachelor's degree in the same speciality," said Dr Amin Al Amiri, deputy under secretary of medical practices and licensing and vice chairman of the committee. "They didn't have either and this is against the law."

The 60-bed Central Private Hospital in Sharjah, one of the oldest medical centres in the emirate, was temporarily closed on January 26, much to the concern of patients, including women due to give birth there, and staff.

Steps were taken to close it after a deadline from the ministry to improve standards passed, said the assistant under secretary at the ministry and director of Sharjah Health Zone, Sheikh Mohammed bin Saqr Al Qassimi.

The hospital will reopen today after meeting certain requirements that included hiring more staff and buying new medical equipment.

The number of breaches was to be expected, said Dr Al Amiri.

“We license around 1,252 hospitals and health centres … and we should expect those [breaches] could happen anytime, anywhere and continuously,” he said.

All breaches were discovered after routine inspections.

“The [nine-member] committee also decided to withdraw the licence and shut a clinic of a doctor, as well as [another] medical centre because of the failure to comply with the rules and regulations of the ministry,” said the report.

The committee dealt with a number of other grievances and complaints, including the case of a doctor who did not ask for prior written consent before carrying out a treatment.

In a separate case, the committee demanded that a dentist working at a private clinic carry out a corrective procedure on a patient, free of charge, after he had made mistakes in the original diagnosis.

“The committee decided to require a dentist in a private clinic to replace the teeth for one of its complaining patients, since it had been resolved that there was a wrong diagnosis of the needed tooth set,” said the report.

“The committee [also] warned a specialist dentist, who transgressed the powers of diagnosis and the licence, which was granted to him by the Ministry of Health, and failed to ask for [the] patient’s written consent,” the report continued.

“The committee also resolved to classify other complaints received against a number of doctors and clinics in the absence of any medical error, while referring certain complaints to the higher committee on medical accountability for its ruling.”

Another centre, also unidentified, was given a written warning about the improper manner in which staff issued prescriptions. Grievances filed against decisions made by the committee last year were denied.

“The committee, not convinced of the forcefulness of the arguments, rejected all the grievances,” said the report.

A decision to publish a template to allow healthcare workers to identify medical misconduct in both Arabic and English was also discussed at the meeting. No decision was made.

The committee also rejected a ruling to allow general practitioners the option of working in several different facilities.

Other requests denied include one made by a medical centre to create a mobile dental clinic.

“The committee also rejected the request of a medical centre to set up a mobile dentistry clinic in a car specially equipped for this purpose, and equipped with all the necessary medical and sterilisation devices, on the account that it runs counter to [the law] on Private Medical Facilities,” said the report.