General practitioners, nurses and other healthcare professionals who wish to practice medicine in Qatar will be prohibited from doing so if they fail their accreditation exams five times, the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) has said.
According to the Peninsula, a circular was recently sent to medical professionals at private and public institutions announcing this decision.
The newspaper reports:
“The move aims to ensure competence and bring about a unified policy. Under the new rule, the practitioner can take the exam three consecutive times, irrespective of the gap between attempts. In case the practitioner fails the third time, he/she will be permitted two more attempts with a gap of six months. However, the total number of attempts should not exceed five.”
The circular added that those who have exceeded the permitted number of attempts before the new policy takes effect will be treated on a case-by-case basis.
The purpose of the exams is to test whether applicants meet the standards set by the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners (QCHP). If they pass, they can then apply for licensing through the body.
According to Ajeesh Madai, a manager at Doha Clinic, applicants with post-graduate degrees such as MDs and PhDs are not required to sit for these exams.
Previously, it appeared that there was no limit on how many times a person could take the exams.
According to a FAQ posted on QCHP’s website, there had also been no time limit for retaking the exams, provided there was seat availability in the testing center.
In recent years, Qatar officials have been working to improve the quality of its medical offerings.
Two years ago, the SCH said it was closely monitoring applicants in the healthcare field, given the growing prevalence of people with fake educational credentials.
At the time, an official said that some 66 percent of job applicants for nursing positions at state hospitals in 2012 were found to have forged their qualifications.
Meanwhile, some 13 percent of people applying for jobs as doctors and 21 percent up for paramedic posts also submitted fake documents.
The effort to improve the system comes amid a looming shortage of healthcare professionals in the country and across the Gulf.