Posted on March 11, 2016

Physicians seeking a licence to practise complementary medicine (CM) in Qatar must apply through a facility that holds a licence to provide this service, a senior official of the Ministry of Public Health has said.

Following a recent government decision to open doors to complementary medicine in the country, the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners (QCHP), the body responsible for licensing healthcare practitioners, has started the registration process for qualified and aspiring professionals. The disciplines in the initial list include Hijama (wet cupping), chiropractic, homeopathy, ayurveda and acupuncture. “Only a few people have applied until now although we are getting a lot of queries,” Dr Samar Aboulsoud, acting CEO of QCHP told The Peninsula.

QCHP earlier said the term complementary medicine has been adopted, instead of the more familiar alternative medicine to reflect the government’s view that it should serve as complementary to conventional medicine. In line with this view, the practitioners seeking a CM licence can work only as part of a hospital or clinic that has a licence to provide the CM service, explained the official. A physician can apply through an existing clinic but that clinic should first obtain a separate licence to provide complementary medicine.

“Existing clinics should go back to the Facilities Department (at the Ministry of Public Health) and see what are the requirements to open a clinic for complementary medicine. The physician can apply through that clinic provided it has met the requirements,” said Aboulsoud. “If a physician wants to set up a CM clinic, he can do that but the clinic should first be licensed to provide complementary medicine,” she added. Members of the medical community point out that the licensing procedures can be delayed if the existing clinics or hospitals providing conventional medicine do not show interest in setting up CM clinics under their umbrella. Under the existing rules, a specialist degree is mandatory for a physician to set up an independent clinic and it is not clear how many CM practitioners would fall in this category.

A senior official of a company running a chain of clinics in Qatar told this daily that they had no plans to set up CM clinics at the moment. “We have not thought about it until now,” he said. He said even if the practitioners and the clinics are licensed for complimentary medicine, they should also have the facility to dispense the medicines required for treatment. “All these medicines will have to be first registered with the Pharmacy and Drug Control Department at the ministry. Complimentary medicines will become a reality in Qatar although it may take more time.”

source: The Peninsula