RIYADH, 13 December 2003 — Overseas doctors and medical technicians will have to sit an exam in their countries to qualify for a Saudi work visa, the Saudi Authority for Medical Specialization (SAMS) has announced.
The new rule, effective from Jan. 1, comes after reports that medical practitioners from some African and Asian countries failed exams conducted by the authority here or were found to have fake qualifications.
Dr. Muqbil Al-Hudaithy, secretary-general of the authority, said officials from the Ministry of Health would conduct the exam abroad to assess the candidates’ professional ability and qualifications and learn about their area of specialization. The exam will be piloted for Egyptian doctors and Filipino medical technicians, he said.
Al-Hudaithy said insufficiently qualified medical staff had “caused severe damage to many patients” in the past.
Saudi hospitals have traditionally recruited doctors and nurses from the West, but because of the security situation in the Kingdom and the reluctance of some hospitals to honor their contractual obligations, many of them have left.
Meanwhile, doctors from the subcontinent are being lured to the US and Canada with lucrative offers, while there are also reports that recruitment agencies acting for Saudi hospitals have lied to applicants about pay rates.
Hospitals have therefore directed their recruitment drive to Africa and Asia.
Sourced By: RxPG Editorial Team
Source: The Arab News