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JMA warns against unlicenced medical centres, syndicate to take legal action

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Jan 21,2023 - Last updated at Jan 22,2023

Representative image (Photo courtesy of unsplash/Sasun Bughdaryan)

AMMAN — The Jordan Medical Association (JMA) is preparing to file lawsuits against three unlicensed medical centres allegedly being run by “brokers” posing as physicians, according to Maha Fakhoury, a JMA board member. 

She noted that these centres use social media platforms to promote and advertise various types of medical procedures such as cosmetic or bariatric surgeries. 

“They are, however, a false front for brokers whose job is to bring in patients for doctors they have agreements with, and that is both illegal and unethical,” Fakhoury told The Jordan Times.

This form of practice exploits a “noble profession” by scamming people in need of medical care in order to make profit, she added. 

Doctors’ relationship with their patients should not be mediated by a third party, Fakhoury said, noting that these unlicenced centres and the physicians who deal with them are legally liable and subject to prosecution. 

According to Article 65 of the JMA Law No. 13 for the year 1972,“the association is not only entitled but is also obligated to take legal action against any person who practices or claims to practice any form of medicine without a medical licence,” she continued. 

Fakhoury also pointed out that Article 64 of the JMA Law states that “any doctor who practices the profession without being registered [at the JMA] shall be subject to imprisonment for a term of no less than three months, a fine of no less than JD1,000 or both”. 

Article 65 also states that any person who practices medicine without a medical degree shall be punished in accordance with the Penal Code and the Public Health Law No. 47 of 2008, according to Fakhoury. 

She said that this “chaos”, which resulted from the absence of clear legislation that organises health media and medical advertisements on social media platforms, is “dangerous”.

The JMA is planning on cooperating with the Jordan Media Commission (JMC) to enhance oversight. It’s also working on drafting amendments and instituting additions regulating health-related media through the JMA Law, Fakhoury said. 

She said that raising public awareness through local media outlets is “paramount” in curbing such malpractice. 

Fakhoury is also part of a committee at the JMA concerned with regulating the medical profession. 

“Our main goal is not to punish or blame anyone, but to protect the practice of medicine as a noble profession and maintain patients’ safety, which in turn results in safeguarding the Kingdom’s health security,” she said. 

The committee also aims to protect doctors and healthcare professionals by ensuring that they are aware of the medico-legal aspects of their practice, she added. 

Fakhoury further noted that the JMA has plans to cooperate with the Jordan Pharmacists Association in order to curb illegal practices inside pharmacies, including administering injections or performing surgeries that require a sterile, fully-equipped operating room, such as removing warts or corns and calluses. 

The association is also working with the Health Ministry to introduce legal amendments that aim to regulate physicians’ specialty-based scopes of practice, she said. 

In previous statements to The Jordan Times, Director of the Licencing of Health Professions and Institutions Directorate at the Ministry of Health Amin Al Maaytah said that the amendments will specify the range of tasks and decisions that a licensed healthcare professional is legally authorised to perform. 

He also noted that the Health Ministry received 1,355 complaints in 2022. 

Complaints can be submitted to the ministry in person at the Directorate of Internal Auditing and Control, by contacting the hotline number 065004545 or by sending an e-mail to [email protected], according to Maaytah. 

The association urges citizens to exercise caution and report such “deceptive and misleading” advertisements to ensure that others don’t fall victim to their fraud attempts, Fakhoury stressed. 

Once a compliant is received by the JMA, it forms an investigation committee which discusses the issue with the concerned parties. If the complaint is confirmed to be true, it is then referred to the Public Prosecutor or a disciplinary board, she said. 

Fakhoury also noted that citizens ought to only seek medical attention from licensed healthcare professionals who adhere to an ethical code of conduct and have undergone years of “rigorous” training and testing, she said. 

In February, the syndicate will publish a list, which will be updated annually, containing the names of all physicians who are licensed to practise medicine in Jordan along with each of their specialties “to curb violations and keep the public well-informed”, she added. 

In total, 42,364, doctors are registered with the association, 2,253 of which are deceased, and 60 per cent are under the age of 40, according to Fakhoury. 

 

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