Dubai hospitals to be brought up to international standards


All major government hospitals will undergo rigorous checks to comply with international standards to improve services and reduce patient risk.

Dr Hanif Hassan Ali, Minister of Health, said, " While the medical institutions in the country are comparable to those in the developed world, accrediting them will not only raise the quality of health care but also attract international investors in the fast-growing sector.” Chicago-based The Mihalik Group (TMG), accreditation consultants, won the contract for the accreditation process. Gary Mihalik commented, “ It has been found that the accreditation process helps to reduce health care costs, improve efficiency of services and strengthen public confidence in the quality of health care.”

The five-year contract begins with an assessment of 14 hospitals, preventive medicine centers, primary health care centers, infectious disease clinics, nursing schools, pharmacies, dental clinics and a blood bank. Following the assessments, The Mihalik Group will work with the Ministry to bring the facilities into compliance with the equivalent of JCI standards.

A key reason for the accreditation is another attempt to stop locals going abroad for treatment. Limited access to quality health care and lack of confidence in the services available makes thousands of nationals and expatriates travel abroad for treatment, putting a huge burden on the government. In 2008, Dubai government paid Dh240 million to Emiratis for treatment abroad, in addition to an unknown amount of private spending by locals, and expatriates returning to home countries for elective procedures. In 2007, Dubai sent 946 Emirati patients abroad at a cost of Dh178 million. The current system loses business to other countries. Historical reasons why residents travel abroad for treatment are lack of trust, financial constraints or family pressure from back home.

Medical tourism is still an emerging concept in Dubai, although there are patients from other Gulf countries who fly in for treatment in select specialities at both government and private hospitals. The Total Joint Replacement Centre of Excellence (TJRCE) at the American Hospital is one such speciality that has made much progress towards this end. 40 per cent of the 4000 patients who have been operated upon by the centre come from other countries. Most came from Arab countries, particularly Kuwait. Patients that would have gone to London or Paris for knee replacements, now seek treatment locally.

The first Samsung Medical Center outside of South Korea will open in Dubai in March. Samsung Medical Center Dubai will provide advanced medical services for Emaratis and residents in Dubai, UAE, GGC countries, Middle East and North Africa. The centre will be in Dubai Health Care City.

The centrer will have highly specialized medical and nursing personnel in addition to the medical visits by consultants from Samsung Medical Centers and Hospitals in Korea. Samsung Medical Center was established in Korea in 1995 and includes 3 specialized hospitals in Seoul and other provinces.



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