Dr George Michailidis MRCOG is the founder and Executive Director of the Genesis Perinatal Care Clinic of Dubai Healthcare City (http://www.genesis-dubai.com/) , and one of the most renown and in-demand specialists of Dubai in his field. We interviewed him on the “HOWs” and “WHYs” of setting up one's own private medical practice in Dubai.
Q: Why did you decide to setup your professional practice in Dubai?
A: We moved to Dubai at onset of the financial crisis in 2009 as it was difficult at the time to secure funds for a private practice in Greece. UAE offered a fantastic compensation package that was difficult to turn down.
Q: What are the main hurdles an expat doctor has to overcome to come and practice in Dubai?
A: Understanding the personal and local practice limitations has been the common hurdle for new physicians. Experienced consultants usually do not have any problems while newly qualified or inexperienced doctors may find difficult to stand alone and practice.
Private medical practice is demanding. Usually doctors do not have a problem with it as they have been trained in a demanding environment throughout their carrier. However, mastering the intricacies of offering quality medical care in a private environment can be challenging for individuals who come from government lead systems.
Highly specialised doctors (for example oncologist, or cancer surgeons) often get frustrated from the lack of service integration and established referral pathway. Building the support team that these specialties need, in particular on the nursing and allied medical professional part, has always been a challenge.
Q: Which are the main advantages of practicing the medical profession here?
A: Dubai is in need of medical practitioners who can offer quality care. The affluent population base, favourable tax system, safe and enjoyable environment for the family make Dubai a great place to practice and live.
In general, large private units offer very competitive compensation packages in line with the US standards for physicians. They are keen and have the funds to support new technological advantages in medicine that in other places it would be very difficult to get.
Individual practices although much more demanding from personal prospective can be financially more rewarding in the long term.
Q: How was the licensing process? What authority are you licensed with and why did you choose to license with it?
A: When I first came to Dubai I was recruited from a large private hospital. Their HR made the registration process very straight forward. In general, pretty much everything is computerised and for those who are qualified in western countries an easy process. There are 2 licencing authorities in Dubai (the plan apparently is to unify at some point), the Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Healthcare City. Depending on which hospital or clinic you practice you have to have the appropriate license. These are the relevant links
However you need to be prepared for possible delays. The primary source verification process can take a long time especially if you have qualified a long time ago in countries that record keeping and access is not easy.
Q: Why did you choose the Dubai Healthcare City to setup your practice?
A: When you start an outpatient clinical facility, location and nearby hospitals make a big difference. At Genesis we offer high risk obstetric and fetal medicine services. The concentration of large private hospital units in DHCC was a main advantage for my specialty as a big part of my work are supportive services to these units.
Dubai Healthcare City has been extremely supportive for new businesses They have the experience and they understand the challenges of a new medical practice as a stand alone business.
In summary location and streamline business set up process were the main reasons I have chosen DHCC.
Q: Describe the medical community in Dubai, its pros and cons.
A: Dubai has the luxury of being the base of a significant number of exceptional physicians in all specialties.
However as unfortunately it is common in the Middle East there is a fast turn around time and very little integration of services.
This has been a problem for highly specialised sectors of medicine who depend on collaboration with other specialties and well established referral pathways and support teams.
Q: Is the healthcare market in Dubai growing or shrinking, do you feel competition is increasing or decreasing?
Dubai is in need of well qualified experienced clinicians. The fluctuations in the population and the region’s economics do not make such a big difference in small clinics but obviously can affect budget and expenditure of large hospitals.
Not all medical specialties have the same demand in Dubai. Certain specialties can only function within a large hospitals while others are fine for outpatient setting. Individuals need to do some background work to make sure that their particular skill set will place them in a competitive position in the market.
For the individual doctor who can provide high quality care and has the skills to stand on his/her feet in her respective specialty Dubai does offer fantastic opportunities.
Competition is indeed increasing with a number of large private hospital units opening and new doctors coming. Although this does put pressure to the business providers /owners at the same time improves the level of services offered and for employed doctors more choices and on occasion better remuneration.
Dr George Michailidis, (MRCOG) is a Fetal & Maternal Medicine Consultant, Obstetrician & Gynecologist. Dr George specializes in prenatal diagnosis and counselling, applications of 3D & 4D ultrasound and the antenatal care of High Risk pregnancies.
Dr George Michailidis completed his basic training in Greece and continued his studies in the UK. In 2007 he was awarded the title of Fetal & Maternal Medicine Sub-Specialist / Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist by the RCOG and worked as a Senior Lecturer/Consultant in Fetal & Maternal Medicine at the University of Southampton
In 2013 he launched Genesis Perinatal Care Clinic. Genesis is a purpose build facility offering advanced prenatal screening and diagnostic services as well as care for high risk pregnancies in Dubai. Learn more on http://www.genesis-dubai.com/
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