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Saudi Arabia

Unlicensed doctors raise health concerns

There are 400 foreign doctors in hospitals and polyclinics in the Western Province of Saudi Arabia without a valid licenses to practice the profession, Al-Watan reported yesterday quoting a Health Ministry source.
“Most of these doctors are involved in cases related to medical mistakes as a result of their negligence,” the source said. "Hospitals provide them with shelter for material gain and they don’t care about issuing a license," he added.
He also pointed out that the proposal made by the Shoura Council’s health committee to register medical mistakes has not yet seen the light. “This has led to an increasing number of medical mistakes across the country,” he said.
According to the source, there are two reasons that obstructed implementation of the Shoura proposal, namely, a lack of appropriate action on the part of the ministry and a move by investors to abort the proposal in order to hide their mistakes.
Meanwhile, Dr. Muhammad Erfan, manager of Dr. Erfan & Bagedo Hospital said the ministry’s decision to close his hospital was “oppressive, arbitrary and unfair.” He said the minister had refused to meet him to explain how the eight-year-old boy died.
Erfan also pointed out that seven hospitals had refused to accept 280 patients from his hospital due to lack of capacity.
Erfan said his hospital has been serving about 50,000 patients in Jeddah. He expressed his dismay at the minister’s quick decision to close down the hospital completely. “The boy — Salah Al-Deen, son of Sheikh Yusuf Jameel — died due to a technical fault. The ministry should have punished the person who caused the death instead of closing down the hospital.”
The manager said the hospital’s closure would not only incur heavy losses but would also affect patients' lives in the city as well as its 2,700 employees. “We have told the staff that they would be paid their salary despite the closure.” According to Erfan, his hospital receives at least 2,500 patients daily, including accident victims.
He said the ministry closed the hospital without considering the situation of other patients admitted there.
Yaseen Khayat, chairman of the lawyers committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the closure of Erfan Hospital was in accordance with the law. He said the same punishment should be imposed on negligent government hospitals.
However, Khayat questioned the ministry’s abrupt punitive action against Erfan & Bagedo while ignoring the mistakes being committed by other hospitals.

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