In a move to strengthen the medical tourism initiative for the Emirate of Dubai, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) recently held a meeting with all stakeholders of the medical tourism initiative.
The meeting was held with representatives of General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Department of Economic Development, Emirates Airlines, Emirates Holidays, Dubai Healthcare City etc.
A similar meeting was held earlier this month with several private sector hospitals.
The aim of the meeting was to discuss the medical tourism strategy and the steps to implement it. The meeting also discussed key focus areas of treatment for medical tourism and the introduction of medical tourism packages to provide medical tourists and their families with excellent healthcare, recreational and touristic facilities- all under one package, for their convenience.
His Excellency Engineer Essa Al Maidoor, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority, said: “In line with the directions of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, we are working with all relevant stakeholders to streamline the medical tourism initiative for the Emirate. We look forward to collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure we device a comprehensive system that provides patients with convenience from the time they enter Dubai right through treatment and even follow-up. Dubai is the world’s leading destination for tourism and leisure and since Dubai offers excellent healthcare facilities, medical tourism is an extension of the hospitality that Dubai is synonymous with. Ensuring that all players work hand-in-hand with us and are aligned with the overall medical tourism strategy, will ensure smooth functioning of a dynastic health sector and will benefit both medical tourists as well as the healthcare providers.”
Dr Ramadan Ibrahim, director of medical regulation and director of the medical tourism program, said: “All relevant stakeholders including immigration, the aviation industry, the hospitality sector, public and private hospitals will work together to ensure medical tourists receive both excellent treatment as well as world-class hospitality.
“Post this meeting, it was decided that each of these authorities will nominate a representative who will be part of the multi-stakeholder medical tourism committee and this will ensure 360 degrees comprehensive planning and execution of the strategy.”
The committee will be chaired by Dr Ibrahim and will be held on a regular basis.
Medical tourism membership
In terms of hospitals, Dr Ibrahim said the next step for the hospitals and health facilities interested in being part of this initiative is to fill out the detailed medical tourism eligibility form and submit all documents with the Dubai medical tourism office within the DHA regulation section.
The documents will then be evaluated by the medical tourism committee and the hospitals will receive platinum, gold or silver membership based on their score. Ibrahim said: ” The committee will look into detailed aspects of every health facility. For example, they need to provide us details of the specialties they would like to promote, the details of the doctors who provide those specialties, the number of procedures they have conducted etc. All this information will be re-verified with the DHA health regulation office as part of the secondary verification check. In addition to medical facilities, we will also evaluate healthcare facilities on the basis of the comfort and ease they provide patients. This includes checking whether they have translators, chauffer services etc, which will all be part of the medical tourism package. At the end of the day, it’s about providing both excellence in medical service.
Medical tourism package:
Dr Ibrahim added that in order to achieve this, hospitals will be asked to chalk out medical tourism packages. The package will include treatment, visa, hotel accommodation as well as recreational activities for families who accompany the patient.
“The first package will be launched in October this year and will be wellness and preventive services package. This includes executive full body check-ups etc.”
Dr Ibrahim added that the Dubai medical tourism website will be will be launched by the last quarter of 2014- all member details and hyperlinks will be on the comprehensive site.