Ministry of Health meets with private healthcare facilities to discuss key industry issues

January 25 2016,  18.15 PM IST || Pocket Press Release

·        Discussions include International Health Accreditation, Strategic Medical Stock Agreement, private healthcare facility regulations & fertility law

·        H.E. Dr. Al Amiri: ‘Healthcare facility licensing to be based on compliance with international accreditation standards’

UAE, January 25, 2016 – The Ministry of Health recently met with representatives from private medical centers, one-day surgery hospitals, and Ministry-certified fertility clinics at its headquarters in Dubai. Headed by H.E. Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, the Ministry’s Assistant Undersecretary for Public Policy and Licensing Sector, the meeting revolved around key topics such as the required international accreditation to be obtained within a specific period, the terms of the Strategic Medical Stock Agreement, existing fertility laws and its implementing provisions, and regulations governing private healthcare facilities.

H.E. Dr. Al Amiri emphasized that the Ministry’s strict supervision of all UAE-based hospitals and clinics is part of its jurisdiction as specified by the UAE Constitution and healthcare laws as well as in line with its commitment to ensure the safety of all patients through access to high-quality healthcare services. In cooperation with healthcare authorities, the Ministry grants licenses to and supervises healthcare facilities operating in the state to ensure that they are well-qualified to receive and treat patients according to the set laws and regulations.

Compliance with International Healthcare Accreditation standards

H.E. Dr. Al Amiri said the Ministry of Health has requested all private healthcare facilities to comply with the International Healthcare Accreditation standards under Circular No. (412) of 2014. This is in line with its strategy to develop and implement the highest quality of services and standards across the public and private sectors. The implementation period for public hospitals and one-day surgery hospitals is a maximum of three years from the date of issuance of the Circular on December 18, 2014. Other healthcare facilities are given a maximum of five years. The International Healthcare Accreditation standards include:

1.      Australian Council for Healthcare Standards International (ACHSI)

2.      Joint Commission International (JCI)

3.      Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation (CCHSA)

Given the importance of the International Health Accreditation in terms of enhancing healthcare services across the world, the licenses of private healthcare facilities will depend on their compliance with the set standards within the period identified by the Circular.

Response of Private Hospitals to Strategic Medical Stock Agreement

H.E. Dr. Al Amiri further said that Ministerial Decision No. (39) of 2015 issued by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, urges all healthcare entities to monitor and manage their medical stocks in accordance with their specialty areas . This ensures that these facilities are ready to respond to the needs of the healthcare industry, especially in emergency situations such as radiological, biological and chemical injuries and other crises and disasters.  The ministerial resolution also monitors private healthcare facilities and pharmaceutical companies to guarantee their compliance with regulations on managing medical stocks, establish an environment where technical and administrative employees can efficiently do their tasks and responsibilities, and ensure their electronic integration with the National Operational Center.

H.E. added that all medicines are stored in warehouses based on appropriate storage conditions and directives from the manufacturing companies to ensure sufficient stocks. These storage areas are secured to avoid any loss or theft, while necessary precautions have been put in place to prevent the entry of unauthorized persons. Recorded data for temperature monitoring is also available for auditing and review purposes. Employees are well-trained to implement necessary procedures in case of defects in freezers or cooling rooms. Pharmaceutical warehouses are also not allowed to store drug samples, while all freezers and medical storage facilities must have enough power supply. The Strategic Medical Stocks supervisor or delegate is responsible for monthly on-site assessment of drug storages. Narcotic drugs are stored and supervised in accordance with the specialized set procedures, while medicines and chemical materials are placed in separate lockers in accordance with the directions given by manufacturing companies. Expired or damaged medicines, including reusable drugs, are separated from the stocks until a final decision is issued regarding the same.

With regard to periodic auditing and monitoring of storage conditions, a monthly storage inventory is conducted to compare record books before a report is filed with the Strategic Medical Stocks team within the Ministry of Health’s Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Operations Center. Items are periodically replaced with imported medicines with the latest expiration dates. A report is then filed with the Strategic Medical Stocks team about the expiration dates of these new imported items in order to separate them from those that are about to expire (6 months or less); replace slow-moving drugs that are almost expired with those that have longer expiry dates; and destroy expired items in accordance with existing regulations and rules.

Fertility Law: Implementing Regulations, Mechanisms and Action Plans

According to H.E. Dr. Al Amiri, the Ministry-accredited supervisory committee for fertility centers in the UAE follows Federal Law No. (11) of 2008 on licensing of fertility centers in the UAE and its implementing regulations contained in Ministerial Decision No. (36) of 2009. Comprising technical, regulatory and legal experts, the committee issues licenses to centers specializing in fertility, embryos and infertility treatment as well as identifies their operational activities upon their compliance with the set conditions. These conditions are decided on  by a technical committee established to ensure that all units comply with the licensing requirements, examine reports and complaints, and supervise fertility centers.

The licensee must be committed to offering efficient medical, technical and administrative services as outlined in the fertility law’s implementing regulations. The genetic diagnosis is conducted upon a written permission from the parents to allow the center to make the necessary pre-implantation processes in order to identify any genetic diseases and take required measures to prevent harm on the implanted egg.

Feedback and creative ideas

During the meeting, H.E. Dr. Al Amiri welcomed the suggestions and feedback from the attendees, with the goal of improving their cooperation and strategic partnerships. This will also raise the bar in the local healthcare sector in line with international standards, thereby reinforcing the UAE’s competitiveness and leading position. Such efforts will enable the Ministry of Health and all public and private healthcare facilities to assume a leading role in achieving excellence and innovation to address the health needs of all individuals and support the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership.

Ministry of Health meets with private healthcare facilities to discuss key industry issues