• 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 benchmarking
• Employer contribution will start at between Dhs500 and Dhs800 per person a year
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 Sheikh 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.'
'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'
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 standards.'
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 Dhs500 and Dhs800 per person and will be reviewed at least annually.
Full details of the new funding system are available form the DHA website.
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 clinic.
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.'