In accordance with circular No.136 issued last December, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in the emirate, has updated the licensing procedures for healthcare professionals within clinics operating in nurseries in the emirate. The new regulations are in line with the department’s mission to facilitate and enhance licensing procedures for nurseries, in accordance with their needs and capabilities to ensure the health and safety of children, parents and staff.

DoH indicated that if nurseries wish to register a school clinic within their facilities as part of their licensing application, they must provide a school nurse, registered nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, paramedic (EMT-P) or general practitioner. In the event that the nursery does not wish to license a clinic, it must ensure that a minimum of 10% of its staff hold a valid BLS and PALS certifications, issued by an accredited international entity.

Ms Hind Al Zaabi Executive Director of Healthcare Facilities Sector at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, said: “At the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, we work side by side with our partners in the education sector to identify their needs and recognise possible ways to enhance healthcare licensing procedures for schools and nurseries. In light of what the world has witnessed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked keenly on updating and facilitating our healthcare professionals’ licensing procedures for nurseries, by providing multiple requirement options that match the nurseries’ needs and capabilities. In this way we are able to achieve the highest standards of compliance with the stipulated procedures, which will reflect positively on children’s health and safety.’’

Several representatives of nursery department in the emirate welcomed the new updated procedures.

Kerryn Michna from Redwood nursery said: “At KFG we are very positive and supportive of such a decision, knowing that in other developed countries in the early childhood sector, there is no dedicated nurse for a nursery, instead each teacher is trained to a high standard to handle all health and safety tasks.’’

Michna added: ‘’At KFG, health and safety is our top priority. We would welcome the new rules/decree announced as we would benefit from the opportunity to certify more than 10% of our staff with new training available to ensure health and safety remains a top priority.’’

Maya Zebib from Children House Montessori stated: ‘’We welcome and thank the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi for the updated requirements for health professionals in nurseries. The new regulations will ensure a safer environment during the nursery operation with a peace of mind for parents while their children are under our care. No doubt this is a great improvement on the current procedures and such measures will enhance the health and safety coverage for our children and staff.’’

Emilia Brown representative of Falcon British Nursery said: ‘’Falcon British Nursery is supportive of the new Department of Health – Abu Dhabi nursing initiative for early years sector. Previously, even though all our staff underwent basic life support training, if the DoH clinic nurse was absent, the nursery as a whole was not allowed to function. This was particularly difficult during the Covid-19 crisis due to the ensuing costs, but the challenge in finding a replacement that meets with the Covid-19 guidelines set by DoH and ADEK. We are thankful that DoH has listened to us and assessed the challenges that we have faced in the early years sector. We are fortunate to have a government that responds to these issues appropriately and adjusts the criteria to support the industry. Now if 10% of the staff have basic life support qualifications, then a nurse is not required to be on premises which solves an issue all early years sector were struggling with. Falcon British Nursery is delighted with this news.’’

Last December, DoH issued a circular clarifying and specifying the licensing procedures for healthcare professionals working in school clinics with students from different age groups. Nurseries wishing to learn more about the new updates can reach DoH on