Muscat: To keep a tab on the services announced by the private hospitals, the Ministry of Health has asked institutions to obtain prior approval before issuing any advertisements to the press.
A reliable source at the ministry said, "As per the press and publication law of the Ministry of Health, private institutions must seek approval before advertising about new services, equipment or medication."
He added that the reason the ministry is asking for pre-approval of the advertisements is to check whether the services they promise to provide are qualitatively good.
"Besides, the approval will enable the ministry to check if the institution is licensed or not," said the source, adding that the ministry will check the licence of the medical staff too.
"There have been instances where private health institutions advertise new medication technology or services, before the ministry has a chance to examine the validity of the services. We cannot put people's life at risk," said the source.
He stressed on the importance of maintaining the ministry's control on these institutions in such matters. "This is the first step of the ministry's strategy to keep a check on what is being offered to the general public."
The source informed that "the Ministry of Health is planning to establish the Medicine Profession and Dentistry Practice Law to protect the medical institutions along with their staff," said the source.
Meanwhile, an official from a private hospital group said that they always abide by the ministry's rules. "All new leaflets, advertisements and notices are released by our hospitals after obtaining the green signal from the ministry authorities. Right from the start, we have always been following the instructions of the authorities strictly," KO Devassy, Group Marketing Manager at Badr Al Samaa Group of Hospitals, told the Times of Oman.
"Not only in releasing the advertisements, introduction of a new department also requires permission from the ministry. We always abide by the rules," he added.
The ministry is also forming another law on patients' rights and duties. The Directorate General represented by the Evaluation and Quality Control department conducts periodical inspection visits to the private hospitals and clinics, according to the source.
"The Evaluation and Quality Control department at the ministry comprising a team of medical advisors, technicians and doctors from several government hospitals," said the source.
He added that they conduct a full day inspection for each hospital every year.
"The team conducts three inspection visits to clinics every year," he said.
"During the inspection, team checks buildings, surroundings, equipment and devices, medical records, medicine and anything connected to the services provided to the public," said the source.
He added that the team reports all the violations and expects the institutions to rectify the faults.
"In case the institutions don't follow the ministry's instructions, they are liable for strict action," the source said.
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