UAE health care in need of skilled staff

Philip Lange /
Attracting and retaining skilled health care professionals is a major obstacle standing in the way of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reaching its goal of achieving international best-practices in health care by 2021, a report released on Tuesday said.

Waha Capital compiled the "Investing in Quality" report after speaking with executives in health care policymaking, operational management and insurance. 

Executives polled in the study said that human resources and varying regulation across the seven different emirates remain top obstacles in the endeavor to improve care. They also reported that in order to meet government targets health staffing will need to increase by 50 percent in the next six years. The region has a high turnover level as the UAE is often a stepping stone for practitioners who want to practice medicine in Western Europe and North America.

“It’s clear that staffing is an issue for the sector, and it is up to operators to provide the right incentives to attract and retain skilled employees," Mark Adams, CEO of the Anglo Arabian Healthcare Group, said. "However, I see this as a virtual cycle. As quality of health care provision rises, the UAE will be recognized by doctors and nurses as one of the most desirable places to work in the world, not a stepping stone.”

The report did say that private investment into the health care sector has improved care and has allowed for greater levels of international accreditation.

“The UAE authorities have rightly pinpointed health care as a priority area for private investment, and the policy is clearly working to raise standards," Salem Al Noaimi, CEO and managing director of Waha Capital, said. "It is very encouraging that global accreditation bodies such as the Joint Commission International are now highly active in the country. The nature of competition means that credibility and reputation are key, especially in highly sensitive areas such as personal health.”