The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) launched an e-service that allows customers to register complaints and feedback on the services provided by private health facilities and their medical and technical staff, in a move to ensure the quality of these services in accordance with the policies of the Ministry. The initiative complements the Ministry’s strategy to develop electronic services to improve the overall quality of the health system through innovative smart solutions.
His Excellency (H.E) Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Ministry’s Public Health Policy and Licensing, said: “The Ministry has zero tolerance for any incidents of negligence in providing the most appropriate health care services to patients. Cases of medical negligence and errors occurring at private health facilities are dealt with the highest degree of accuracy and transparency and sanctions are imposed regardless of the rank or position of the staff member who committed the mistake.” He pointed out that the number of complaints is often below the global rates in other developed countries, thanks to the strict standards and requirements followed by the Ministry while issuing licenses to private health facilities.
He added: “This service comes under the e-services package of the Ministry that aims to improve the quality of the health system through innovative smart solutions and adhere to the implementation of quality systems, thereby contributing to the development of public policies and strategies that lead to the community’s happiness.”
The health governance sector is a neutral medical committee that investigates and ensures the integrity
Dr. Amin pointed out that the Ministry’s processing of the complaints registered against private health facilities begins with receiving complaints, followed by the formation of a neutral medical committee to investigate the incident by listening to the complainant or the facility. Medical procedures performed by the doctor are then evaluated, and then the report is submitted to the Medical Licensing Committee to take the appropriate decision.
He explained that the complaints regarding the poor quality of medical services provided by private health facilities are registered through an electronic system. A complaint can be filed by any patient who has received treatment at a private health facility, regardless of being a resident or visitor, by confirming details of the complaint. To address this complaint, a technical committee will be formed with consultants with the same specialization. The reviewed medical file will then be sent to the members of the technical committee overseeing the case. After this step, the report will be sent to the complainant indicating whether there has been a negligence or not.
Medical responsibility law is a legislative measure that protects the community from medical malpractices
Dr. Al Amiri emphasized that the Ministry has put a legislative measure in place that includes strict conditions and regulations for medical practice. The Article no (4) of the Decree of medical responsibility stipulates that the doctor must follow the rules, regulations, and procedures for practicing the profession according to his degree and field of specialization, and that the patient's medical condition and his / her personal and family history must be recorded prior to diagnosis and treatment, in addition to using necessary diagnostic and medical devices to identify and treat patients in accordance with accepted scientific principles.
The doctors at private health facilities licensed by the Ministry must provide the prescription of medications specifying dosages, and the method of use clearly in writing, mentioning their names, signatures, and date of prescription. They must also educate the patients or their families the importance of the need to adhere to the method prescribed for treatment. In addition to informing the patient about the nature and the severity of his/her illness, unless otherwise deemed necessary by his/her mental state. Doctors must also inform the patients’ parents or companions in the following scenarios: if he is debilitated or deficient or if his/her health does not allow him/her to be informed personally. The decree law stipulates that it is mandatory to inform the patient or his /her family about the complications arising from diagnosis, treatment or surgical intervention prior to its application.
Ministerial procedures and the role of Medical Responsibility Committees and the Higher Committee of Medical responsibility
Dr. Amin further emphasized that private health facilities are subjected to regular supervision to prevent the practice by unqualified doctors and to reduce cases of medical negligence and errors, which lead to the issuance of penalties and fines, and even the final closure, and the punishment of doctors causing medical errors.
He explained that the primary responsibility falls on the doctor, except for cases of medical error if the patient did not follow medical instructions, and in the case of medical complications, unforeseen or sudden, and not caused by medical error. The doctor is referred to the Medical Liability Committees and the Higher Committee for Medical Liability, which is established by a ministerial decision by MOHAP or the Head of the Health Authority. It includes a committee of experts in different medical specialties to evaluate medical complaints and errors and to accept compensation claims only after presenting them before the Medical Liability Committees. The complainant has the right to appeal the report of the committee within 30 days so that the reports are referred to the Higher Committee for Medical Liability. The Higher Committee for Medical Liability is established by a decision of the Council of Ministers.