H.E. Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing of the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) recently welcomed the continuing growth in the private health and pharmaceutical sector, which are its key partners in promoting a healthy society, and further highlighted that the Ministry constantly monitors and inspects health facilities to ensure that they comply with the country’s rules and regulations in line with the highest international standards.
Dr. Al Amiri noted that a total of 52 new medical facilities opened in 2017 as opposed to a total of 42 medical and pharmaceutical companies from various areas of the country which were closed last year due to varying degrees of violation. The closures were part of an intensive campaign by the inspection teams of the Empowerment and Healthcare Compliance Department to ensure that medical establishments comply with approved medical practices.
The Ministry’s consistent monitoring revealed several violations of safety standards by health and pharmaceutical establishments. The violations included misuse of medicines and pharmaceuticals, non-compliance with engineering standards, hygiene and sterilization instructions for medical devices, non-disposal of medical waste, and absence of proper ventilation system for medical and pharmaceutical establishments.
Closure of health and pharmaceutical facilities due to federal violations
The Ministry, through its Public Health Policy and Licensing department, has closed 27 medical establishments following the decision of the Medical Licenses Committee for violating Federal Law No. (4) 2015 regarding private health facilities, while 15 pharmaceutical establishments broke the ruling as stated in Federal Law No. (4) 1983 in the field of pharmacy and pharmaceutical institutions in 2017 to date.
Closures were implemented between one to six months depending on the degree of violation and its direct impact on public health, the individual and the society after the MOHAP inspection and control teams had carried out reviews on 2,256 health and pharmaceutical establishments out of 2,608 during 2017.
Inspection groups discover multiple violations in health facilities during 2017
Dr. Al Amiri added that during regular visits to health facilities, inspection teams will check if medical and pharmaceutical practices are in accordance to UAE laws and regulations – and corresponding fines will be imposed on violators as part of the strict measures stipulated by the health regulatory authority. It carried out a total of 2,256 inspections in health and pharmaceutical establishments out of the 2,608 in 2017, which include visits to private hospitals, health centers, clinics and specialized centers in the Northern Emirates as well as private pharmacies and medical warehouses across the country.
The Assistant Undersecretary explained that the Ministry's recent decisions to close many health facilities were based on the results of inspections and monitoring of many violations of health laws and standards on the safety of facilities and health practices. Violations have varied between the practice of some doctors and technicians without the authorization of the Ministry, non-compliance to standard hygiene and sterilization standards, improper disposal of medical waste in accordance with local and international laws and standards, the misuse of medicines and pharmaceuticals, and non-compliance with the medical and technical safety requirements of operating rooms. He noted that some of the most serious violations were the manipulation of records concerning disbursement of regulated drugs, including the sale of antibiotics as over-the-counter medicine which would have a negative impact on health security.
However, we commended private sector establishments which consistently followed the laws and regulations. The careful attention given to the sector aims to ensure patients and their families’ regarding private medical practices to promote and protect the health of society at every level.
Serious violations of one-day surgery hospital despite obtaining international accreditation for hospitals
Dr. Al Amiri added that the Ministry has ordered the closure of the operations department of a one-day surgery hospital due to many serious violations that could pose a hazard to the health and safety of the society. Although the hospital had received an international accreditation for hospitals, most technical aspects do not meet the accreditation criteria.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention gave sufficient time for the facility to meet the requirements with the guidance of a competent team from the Empowerment and Healthcare Compliance Department. However, after several visits, it found that the establishment did not comply with the conditions and regulations despite having been given the grace period. For the safety of patients, until the required standards are met, a decision was issued to close the operating room immediately to maintain patient safety until the required standards are met. The third party, which gave the hospital the international accreditation certificate, was informed of the Ministry's dissatisfaction and noted the adverse impact of the violations on the health and safety of patients.