DHA tightens grip on health facilities, hospitals - GulfToday

DHA tightens grip on health facilities hospitals

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The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is tightening its clutch on all 3,371 public and private health and medical facilities or institutions the regulatory body has approved to operate in the Emirate of Dubai to guarantee patients’ safety.

DHA director general Humaid Al Qutami said new rules and regulations would be issued and announced with regard to this decision.

He also stated from the Tuesday press conference that day surgery centres would have to secure endorsements from any international accreditation organisation within 18 months should these not want to be downgraded as clinics or polyclinics.

“If a day surgery centre does not get the needed accreditation within 18 months from the date of the circular, it will automatically get downgraded as a polyclinic. This means that these will no longer be allowed to perform any day surgeries,” Al Qutami said, when Gulf Today asked of the most severe punishment or penalty that would be imposed on any health and medical facility concluded to be on the side of error or negligence after an exhaustive probe is completed.

“The move will help ensure every day surgery centre in Dubai follows international benchmarks for all processes as accreditation are obtained only after adhering to stringent criteria,” he said.

“Centres that are established in the future also have 18 months from the date of the licence to get international accreditation,” Al Qutami added. The press conference was held several days after DHA issued two separate statements on two recent medical cases and complaints of alleged malpractice and negligence brought to their attention.

The first case took place three weeks back. It involved a 24-year-old Emirati woman who had slipped into a coma during the non-cosmetic surgical procedure of septoplasty to correct her “deviated septum” on her nose at the First Med Day Surgery Centre in Hamarain Centre in Deira.

The second case was a hip replacement surgery that went bust and caused the death of an Indian woman at a hospital on Sheikh Zayed Road.

On Tuesday, DHA-Regulation Sector chief executive officer Dr Marwan Al Mulla repeated what he had stated: “Patient’s safety is (top on our list), our priority.”

“We condole the families,” he said.

Al Mulla mentioned “multiple layers” of investigation that includes a “peer (probe)” once allegations of medical malpractice and negligence surface.

“It is up to the courts to decide,” he said, adding that DHA shall conduct visits to all 3,371 public and private facilities.

Going specific, Al Mulla said on the Emirati case: “Initial investigations have shown a failure to follow proper procedures by the doctors responsible for the situation and the centre’s equipment.”

“We feel the pain of the family members. All necessary precautionary measures were promptly taken after initial investigations. We will take stringent action as soon as the investigations are completed. Medical errors will not pass without deterrent accountability,” he also said.

On the Indian woman, Al Mulla said: “Investigations are also currently ongoing and our thoughts and prayers are with the family members. We will investigate this case as per the protocol and we need to wait to know the results of the preliminary investigations. If there is any medical malpractice found, there will most certainly be deterrent accountability.”

According to Al Mulla, the DHA has the goal of having only less than two cases of medical complaints per 100,000 admissions. On record, the public entity is dealing with 1.39 cases of medical complaints per 100,000 admissions.

As of 2018, DHA had approved the operations of 37 hospitals, of which 35 have international accreditation; 50 one-day surgery centres covering different specialities; 81 home care centres; 935 pharmacies; 84 laboratories or diagnostic centres; 1,212 outpatient clinics; and 972 other speciality facilities such as rehabilitation centres.

DHA has so far licensed 38,981 medical professionals of which 10,556 are physicians and specialists.