The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has announced that employees in the emirate will no longer be able to take predated sick leave of three consecutive days or more.
Sick leave will only be given on the day the patient visits the medical facilities (and after) and not on previous days, official news agency WAM reported.
The new rule is being implemented from Sunday at all public and private health facilities, confirmed Marwan Al Mulla, director of the Health Planning Department at DHA.
He said it was aimed at “achieving transparency”.
The DHA’s electronic system – Sharian – has already been re-programmed and will no longer accept predated sick leave. The authority urged physicians and other personnel at public and private medical facilities to abide by the new ruling.
Under the existing rules, employees need to provide a sick leave certificate from the physician, which costs Dhs60 – a cost imposed by the DHA.
Al Mulla also confirmed that the DHA is now working on developing new system standards and guidelines for medical facilities and physicians in Dubai.
He said that the Health Planning department is working on a smart integrated electronic system that will be connected to all the entities responsible for licensing medical facilities and physicians. It is also developing the Dubai Health Registry Project.
Al Mulla said that recent evaluations have confirmed the need to update and develop some regulations, create electronic systems and expand the timescales of inspections of health facilities.
Currently, the DHA’s examination is valid for one year and exemptions exclude dentists and specialists and consultants with certain European certificates.
Al Mulla said the authority is planning to extend the validity of these examinations to five years instead of one year. It will also exempt dentists from the authority’s assessment “based on certain requirements”.
As part of the updated policies, specialists and consultants with European certificates from certain countries including Germany, France, Sweden and Italy will also be exempted.
In terms of licensing healthcare professionals, the DHA currently rejects applications from new professionals who do not conform to the UAE State Professional Licensing Manual.
However, the DHA is now updating this policy to allow the licensing of “rare professional qualifications, which Dubai requires to attract professionals from around the world, meet the needs of the labour market and raise the level of medical services in the emirate,” the WAM report added.
Dubai is expanding its healthcare sector in a bid to cater not only to the growing local population but also to international visitors and compete as a global destination for medical treatment.
The emirate is aiming to attract half a million international medical tourists by 2020.