Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat- In 2006, the Saudi Ministry of Health suspended 6674 employees of the health sector including doctors, pharmacists and technicians due to their falsifying of certificates or misconduct in carrying out their duties.
The general secretary of the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, Dr Hussein al Farihi confirmed to Asharq Al Awsat that the workers were part of health institutions within the private sector and that 542 were suspended for forging their certificates, whilst the remaining number was prohibited from work due to malpractice. The number included Saudi nationals but the majority was of South East Asian background. He added that the technicians ranged from a number of fields such as radiography, nursing, and laboratory research. Dr al Farihi explained that some workers had been suspended for good whereas others would return to work after undertaking the necessary training. He stated that the false certificates were discovered before their owners had begun work and that there were violations by some health institutions that allowed employees to begin work before registering their certificates. He indicated that members of the authority are trained at the Naif Arab University to spot fake certificates and in cases of uncertainty, the certificates would be sent to the cultural attaché of the Saudi embassy in the respective country where it was issued to be verified.
Dr al Farihi added that at the end of the last academic year, the Commission suggested that all institutes are transformed into health academies, indicating that some have already begun this process to become public health universities. There are 95 public institutes, 70 of which are for male students and 25 for female students. He stated that there are four specializations for men; pharmacy, radiography, nursing and medical records. He suggested that admittance to these fields is regulated as 80% of students belong to these divisions.