Attention Healthcare Sector in the UAE – Action Required!

  • Legal Development 15 March 2024 15 March 2024
  • Middle East

  • Healthcare

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has initiated a series of ground-breaking legislative reforms, fundamentally altering the landscape of its health sector. These changes are encapsulated in several key decisions and federal laws, including Federal Law No. (6) of 2023, and amendments to Federal Law No. (4) of 2015 and Federal Law No. (10) of 2002. This article serves as an essential guide for health professionals navigating these transformative changes.

Federal Law No. (6) of 2023: Expanding and Regulating Health Professions

The introduction of Federal Law No. (6) of 2023 marks a pivotal shift from the erstwhile Federal Law No. (5) of 1984 (which is repealed).

This law broadens the definition of the "Health Profession," extending beyond traditional roles such as physicians and pharmacists. It encompasses a wider array of healthcare roles, setting higher standards for transparency, professionalism, and ethical practices.

Effective from 30 June 2023, this law is applicable throughout the UAE, including the Free Zones. Key mandates of the law include:

  1. Mandatory Licensing: Professionals must obtain a licence from respective Health Authorities to practice within the redefined scope of the Health Profession.
  2. Ethical Guidelines: The law enforces strict ethical practices, including adherence to licensed expertise, prohibition of misleading advertising, and maintaining patient confidentiality.

Crucially, the law outlines a range of penalties for violations, which vary depending on their severity. Violations such as practicing without the required licence or using deceitful means to obtain one can lead to consequences including written reprimands, licence revocation, being delisted from the health profession register, and even imprisonment.

For every healthcare establishment operating in the UAE, adherence to Federal Law No. (6) of 2023 is mandatory. It is of utmost importance to strictly follow licensing protocols, maintain ethical standards, and be cognizant of the legal ramifications of non-compliance with the law.

The Executive Regulations will be issued imminently and are anticipated to expand on and provide further clarity on the provisions of the law.

Amendments to Federal Law No. (4) of 2015: Raising Compliance and Penalties

Decision 8 of 2023 amends Article 21 of Federal Law No. (4) of 2015 regarding private health facilities.

It introduces stiffer penalties for contravention of the law, including fines up to AED 500,000 for individuals and AED 1,000,000 for facilities, temporary or permanent employment bans, and facility closures.

Notably, these amendments ensure due process, allowing accused individuals or facilities to present a defence before disciplinary actions. These measures underscore the UAE's commitment to upholding the highest standards in healthcare practices.

Decision 17 of 2023: Clarifying Ownership of Private Health Facilities

This decision amends Article 6 of the Implementing Regulations for Federal Law No. (4) of 2015.

It sets clear legal conditions for prospective owners of private health facilities, facilitating smooth ownership transitions and opening doors for corporate ownership under Federal Decree-Law No. 32/2021. These changes promote investment in the healthcare, but also enhance legal transparency and operational efficiency, positioning the UAE's healthcare sector as an attractive investment destination, all while maintaining high standards of healthcare service provision.

Decision 7 of 2023: Elevating Standards in the Veterinary Sector

The UAE has revamped its veterinary sector regulations through this decision, refining Federal Law No. (10) of 2002.

Central to these amendments are stringent educational requirements, mandating a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university for veterinary practice license applicants. The law also introduces a comprehensive registration system for practitioners and waives registration fees for national veterinarians and public service professionals.

Implications and Preparations

For healthcare establishments and professionals in the UAE, compliance with these laws is imperative. The sector is urged to review and adapt swiftly to avoid significant repercussions. The upcoming Executive Regulation (in respect of Federal Law No. (6) of 2023) by the Council of Ministers will provide further helpful guidance.


As the UAE's healthcare sector strides towards maturity, these laws and amendments serve as foundational stones, ensuring unmatched quality, fostering trust, and catalysing growth in the medical fraternity. Health professionals and establishments must be prepared to navigate these changes to thrive in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.

If you would like to learn more about how our market leading Healthcare practice can support you in navigating these complex changes, please reach out to our specialists Rebecca Kelly, Michael Ducker and Damian Wright for more detail.


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