The Ministry of Health and Prevention has issued a license to 211 health facilities in the country this year as well as ordered the closure of 24 private companies for non-compliance with the set regulations. The issuance of license and closure order are part of the Ministry’s supervisory mandate and aligned with its strategy to implement globally recognized standards across health facilities in the state.
While it is keen to build partnership with private medical hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, the Ministry said it is also obligated to ensure compliance with the existing laws and regulations enacted to promote the health of local society. According to the Ministry, the high number of new medical centers allowed to operate in the country reflects a faster and transparent licensing system within the organization, which has been put in place to attract investments in the UAE’s health and pharmaceutical industries.
On the closure of health facilities and companies, Dr. Hessa Mubarak, Director of the Department of Health Empowerment and Compliance of the Public Health Policy and Licenses Department, revealed that out the 24 private companies ordered shut down by the Ministry, 11 are health centers and 13 were pharmacies. The move was based on the provisions of the Medical and Pharmaceutical Licenses Committee number (4) for the year 2015 concerning private health facilities and number (4) for the year 1983 concerning Pharmaceutical facilities The number of closed facilities significantly dropped this year from 2017’s 42, an indication of the rising compliance of companies with the regulations under the Ministry’s strict supervision. To prevent non-compliance, the Ministry has been implementing programs and holding seminars to guarantee that all players in the local health sector adhere to the highest standards of quality and excellence; increase their awareness of health laws and regulations; and strengthen its own monitoring mechanism to catch violators.
The 24 have been given two weeks to comply with the standards. Failure to do so within the given period will result in the revocation of their license. Prior to the license cancellation, the Ministry will consider their violations and their impact on the public and individual health. The order was released based on the recommendations made by the Ministry’s inspection and control teams, which are tasked to conduct periodic inspection of medical and pharmaceutical establishments.
The teams found that some of the establishments failed to conform to the safety standards, with some even allowing their doctors and technicians to practice their profession without a license. Others also got failing remarks on proper waste disposal and proper storage of medicines. Other violations included non-compliance with the medical and technical safety requirements in operating rooms and the engineering standards; improper sterilization of medical instruments; lack of ventilation system; manipulation of controlled medicines; and dispensation of antibiotics without prescriptions.
Temporary closure an opportunity to comply
The Ministry’s inspection and control teams conduct random visits to health facilities to monitor their compliance. They also schedule an inspection if a complaint has been filed in the Ministry’s portal. Violators are slapped with fines based on the provisions of the existing health regulations. According to the Ministry, the temporary closure provides erring establishments with an opportunity to take the necessary corrective actions. The inspection teams will visit the violators anew to check their compliance.
The Ministry took the opportunity to praise the companies that adhere to health laws and regulations, applauding them for their concern to their patients and their contributions to community health.
As part of its the Year of Zayed initiatives, the Ministry inspected private health facilities before the end of the holy month of Ramadan to improve patient care and the quality of their services. The findings of those visits were not publicly released. The inspections also aimed to strengthen the Ministry’s relations with the health and pharmaceutical establishments, improve health care services in the country, identify issues, prevent non-compliance, find solutions to repeated violations, and implement improvements in current regulations to meet needs, and measure public satisfaction through surveys.