UAE Introduces Stricter Laws and Increased Penalties for Unlicensed Health Professionals and Facilities

Stethoscope on a printed sheet of paper

The UAE government has enacted new regulations aimed at enhancing the healthcare profession and ensuring the highest standards of care and safety for patients. These laws include provisions for increased penalties, the establishment of a national medical registry, regulations for private healthcare facilities, and specific regulations concerning veterinary medicine.

One of the key highlights of these regulations is the imposition of substantial fines of up to Dh1 million for those found in violation of the healthcare profession regulations. Those who engage in the practice of healthcare without a valid license or who submit fraudulent documents to obtain one can face imprisonment along with fines ranging from Dh50,000 to Dh100,000. In cases where a healthcare facility is found to be solely operated by a single person, it can be subject to closure.

The comprehensive regulations encompass a wide range of healthcare professions beyond doctors and pharmacists, including nursing, laboratories, medical physics, functional therapy, physiotherapy, aesthetics, anaesthesia, audiology, and radiology. The regulations ensure that all healthcare professionals adhere to stringent standards and follow the proper protocols to provide safe and effective care to patients.

One of the central elements of the new regulations is the establishment of a national medical register for licensed healthcare professionals within the UAE. This registry will be managed by the Ministry of Health and Prevention. Additionally, health authorities will be responsible for creating their own registers, which will be linked to the national registry. This initiative aims to create transparency and accountability within the healthcare profession and ensures that licensed professionals are easily identifiable.

The regulations also address the ethical practices of healthcare professionals. They prohibit healthcare professionals from selling or promoting medicines or samples to patients or directing them to purchase medicines from specific pharmacies. These measures are designed to prevent conflicts of interest and to prioritize patient care over financial gain.

The penalties for non-compliance with the regulations are substantial. Individuals found practicing healthcare professions without a valid license, but who meet the qualifications for obtaining one, can face fines ranging from Dh10,000 to Dh100,000. Furthermore, directors or managers of healthcare facilities who violate the provisions of the law can be fined between Dh1,000 and Dh500,000, along with temporary suspension of their medical license. Healthcare facilities that breach the regulations can face fines ranging from Dh1,000 to Dh1 million and may be subject to temporary or permanent closure, depending on the severity of the violation.

The updated regulations also address the veterinary profession. They include revisions to the duration of expertise required for licensing Emirati veterinarians and recent graduates in pursuit of this profession. Notably, foreign entrepreneurs and investors will now be allowed to establish and own veterinary facilities, fostering foreign investments in the healthcare sector. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has established a national register for veterinarians, practitioners, and assistants authorized to practice veterinary medicine in the UAE.

These comprehensive regulations represent a significant step towards improving healthcare standards and patient safety within the UAE. By enforcing strict licensing requirements, creating a national medical registry, and imposing severe penalties for non-compliance, the UAE government aims to enhance the overall quality of healthcare services while also encouraging transparency, accountability, and responsible entrepreneurship in the healthcare sector.

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