Dubai Health Authority Unveils Healthcare for All

    Everyone Living in Dubai Will Have Access to a Good, Affordable Health
    Service That Meets Their Basic Medical Needs.

    -   DHA responsible for strategy and policy, health regulation, health
        funding and public health
    -   New Government owned public corporation to take over responsibility
        for health service delivery
    -   DHA to create one Government regulatory body responsible for all
        health service professionals and services in Dubai
    -   DHA's new health funding structure unveiled
    -   Unique system designed for Dubai based on regional and international
    -   Employer contribution will start at between AED500 and AED800 per
        person a year

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, June 9 /CNW/ - Following twelve months of
extensive consultation and public engagement, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA)
has today unveiled the future direction of the Government's health strategy at
a presentation to over 500 people from a range of different stakeholder groups
and organisations, including Government departments, diplomatic
representatives, healthcare experts and professionals from the public and
private sectors, employers, insurers and members of the public.
    Building on the vision of His Highness Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al
Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai contained
within the Dubai Strategic Plan, health is at the forefront of the
Government's agenda to promote the continued and sustainable growth of Dubai
on both the regional as well as the international stage.
    His Excellency Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, the Director General of the
Dubai Health Authority, said: "A dynamic and well regulated health sector is
important to our future growth and prosperity. A happy and prosperous society
is a healthy and productive one. Health affects us all, whoever we may be, as
we will all be a patient at some point in our lives. What we hope is that
there is a high quality, accessible and affordable healthcare system in place
to look after us when we need it. So health is one of the few issues which
unite us all."
    The Government has recognised that as Dubai continues to grow, it must
continue to develop a health service driven by international best practice.
    In addition, Dubai can only be truly healthy if all parts of its
community work together and have access to basic health care. So, as Dubai
looks to the future, it is important that it addresses the basic health needs
of everyone living and working here, to continue to build a healthy,
sustainable and successful community.
    Hosting the event, the Director General said: "Over the last 30 years,
the Department of Health and Medical Services (or DoHMS) and the private
healthcare facilities have done an excellent job delivering health services
for Dubai. However, during this period, Dubai's population has changed and
grown from 300,000 to nearly 1.5 million and continues to expand. Alongside
this growth, the rapidly rising cost of healthcare facilities, services and
medicines are all driving the demand for more healthcare expenditure."
    "One year ago today the Dubai Health Authority was created with a clear
remit to drive standards and improve the health of everyone living and working
here in Dubai. Since then we have been working hard to build and develop a
healthcare system for the future. Our aspiration is to become one of the
world's top health providers and to build Dubai's reputation as a regional
leader in healthcare provision."
    He added: "The DHA will be responsible for delivering a health strategy
that protects and improves the quality of care for everyone in Dubai. We will
promote international accreditation of all healthcare services and promote
partnership between the public and private sector, attracting international
experience and expertise. We will also deliver effective regulation across the
whole of Dubai's health sector, increasing transparency and accountability
within the system. We will drive efficiency by funding the most effective
healthcare for those who need it, improving accessibility to the system and
sustainability for the future. And the DHA will help bring the best training
and education opportunities for those working within the healthcare sector."
    At the presentation the Director General made a number of very specific
announcements about parts of the health programme. However the Government
appreciates that delivering a world class healthcare system will take time.
    Through its consultation programme, the DHA has understood the important
need to introduce the programme in phases. Consequently the DHA transition
programme will introduced over the next four years, completing in 2012 with
the DHA health funding process fully implemented by 2015.
    At the presentation, the Director General announced the following:

    Health service delivery:

    The DHA will be separated from all health service delivery. Within the
new structure, the DHA will not be directly responsible for providing health
services in Dubai. In future, Government health services will be delivered by
a Government owned public corporation, separate from the DHA, creating a
number of very important benefits.
    The separation from Government health services will allow the DHA to be
completely independent in managing the wider health sector. It will also
remove a potential conflict of interest that exists when Government regulates
and also delivers health services.
    Government owned hospitals and primary health care facilities will have
greater freedom, more flexibility and accountability. In line with DHA policy
and strategy, they will be responsible for their own service planning and
delivery. This will allow them to be run more efficiently and effectively,
increasing capacity and creating equal opportunities between the public and
private sectors.
    The Director General said: "For patients, this will result in greater
choice, more accountability, better service, and in the longer term, higher
quality healthcare."

    Health regulation:

    On health regulation, the Director General said: "Regulation will be one
of the main tools available to the DHA to allow it to manage the health care
sector. At the moment the regulation of the healthcare sector in Dubai is
fragmented into different facilities subject to different legislation and
different processes. This has led to inconsistent standards and duplication as
well as a high regulatory burden on health service providers."
    Working alongside key strategic partners such as the Federal Ministry of
Health and the free zones, the DHA's regulation team will help streamline the
current process. This will help build public confidence in the quality of all
of Dubai's health services and deliver a better organised and more efficient
regulatory system for both patients and health professionals.
    The Director General went on to state that: "The DHA's health regulation
team will create a single Government body responsible for health service
professionals and services. It will bring together current regulatory
activities into one coordinated system, responsive to the needs of the public
and health providers. It will ensure full implementation of the DHA's policy
and standards across the whole healthcare sector, including the free zones.
The public and private sectors will be treated exactly the same. The team will
manage complaints and malpractice investigations and regulate public health

    Health funding:

    On the new health funding system the Director General said; "Our
objective for the funding system is to deliver a high quality, affordable and
accessible health service that will provide a good basic standard of
healthcare in Dubai which is similar to that provided by leading developed
countries. It will be compulsory for everyone and will be largely employer or
sponsor funded."
    Access to basic healthcare for every resident of Dubai - national and
non-national alike - is an important part of the system.
    Under the new system UAE Nationals will continue to receive existing
levels of cover and service. There will be no distinction between public or
private health service providers and for the first time, access to a good,
affordable health service will be extended to everyone living in Dubai to meet
their basic medical needs.
    The new funding system has been designed for the future needs of Dubai
and is a unique system drawing upon a local, regional and international
benchmarking programme. The new system will be compulsory for everyone. Where
there is no employer, the individual resident of Dubai will be responsible for
the payment for dependents and those they sponsor. This payment is called a
Health Benefits Contribution (or HBC).
    The exact figure for the HBC is still being finalised and a further
announcement on this will be made later this year. However it is estimated
that the HBC will be between AED500 and AED800 per person and will be reviewed
at least annually.
    Full details of the new funding system are available from the DHA website
( However the key principles of the new
system are:

    -   The health of patients is the main objective of the new system.
        Subject to capacity, patients will have the freedom to choose their
        preferred outpatient clinic which will then be primarily responsible
        for the patient's healthcare needs.

    -   Outpatient clinics will be at the centre of the new system and will
        be responsible for managing patient care. Studies of leading
        healthcare systems show that a primary-care focused healthcare system
        provides clear benefits to patients.

    -   Hospitals will continue to be the providers of acute care.

    Everybody will be issued with a health card and, subject to availability,
will be able to register with a public or private outpatient clinic of their
choice to access care. The new health funding system will be formally launched
on 01 January 2009, when patients will start registering with an out-patient
    In his concluding comments, the Director General said: "Further
announcements on the progress of the DHA programme will be made as we continue
the implementation and engagement process. However as we build and develop a
new health system, healthcare provision must always be balanced with a need to
help the public to lead healthier and safer lifestyles. Consequently the DHA
will have a far more proactive approach to working across Government to ensure
that Dubai is a healthier place to live and work."

    Notes to Editors

    -   Dubai Health Authority created by Law issued by the Ruler of Dubai in
        June 2007.

    -   The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has been empowered to set policy and
        strategy for health, and to assure the application of that health
        policy and strategy. The DHA leads an integrated approach across the
        spectrum of health, anticipating Dubai's future needs and being
        responsive to users. It will stimulate growth and innovation in the
        health market, ensuring value for money and quality of services
        through effective regulation.

    -   The DHA implementation will be undertaken in phases and will take
        around four years to complete (2012). In the meantime the Department
        of Health and Medical Services (DoHMS) continues to provide day-to-
        day medical services.

    -   His Excellency Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid has been appointed Director
        General of the emergent DHA. He is the only official spokesperson who
        can comment on behalf of the DHA.

    -   The new Dubai Health Authority (DHA) structure will ensure that
        health services are better positioned to meet the demand for better
        healthcare services in the future. The DHA will work to:

     -  Provide a Health Strategy for Dubai that will meet the needs of the
        predicted growth and change in population

    -   Ensure Public Health is protected and quality of life improved

    -   Ensure partnership between public and private health service
        providers, bringing together the best international experience to
        ensure we deliver the best health system possible

    -   Achieve international accreditation of healthcare services delivered
        across the Emirate by ensuring world-class quality and standards of

    -   Ensure effective regulation and licensing across the Dubai Health
        Sector guaranteeing the quality of health services provided

    -   Increase the transparency and accountability of the healthcare system

    -   Drive efficiency so that funding is spent on the most effective
        healthcare for those who need it

    -   Improve accessibility to the healthcare system and sustainability for
        the future

    -   Deliver the best training and education opportunities for Dubai
        healthcare practitioners

    -   DHA Health Funding: The DHA transition team is working closely with
        the Executive Council (TEC) on all future financing arrangements.
        Further announcements on the details of the health funding programme
        will be made in due course.

    -   DHA Health Regulation: Will implement DHA regulatory policy across
        the public and private health sector in Dubai. Further announcements
        on the details of the DHA health regulation will be made in due

    -   Access to the DHA website can be made at
        Anyone interested in becoming part of the DHA Online Community should
        log onto the following link: Alternatively access can
        be made via the DHA website.

    The Vision for the DHA

    "The health vision for Dubai is delivered by 2012 by the competent,
confident and sustainable set of suppliers, regulators and service providers
that make up the health system"

    The Mission of the DHA

    "The DHA is the Authority empowered to set policy and strategy for health
and to assure application of policy and strategy. It leads an integrated
approach across the spectrum of health, anticipating future needs and being
responsive to users. It will stimulate growth and innovation in the health
market, ensuring value for money and quality of services through effective

For further information:

For further information: On behalf of the DHA, for further details
please contact: Marcus Pepperell or Philippa Daniels @ FD,,, Tel: +971(0)4-332-8832

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