Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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EDITORIAL Table of Contents   
Year : 2003  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-5
Perspective on the Saudi council for health specialities

Prof. of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia

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How to cite this article:
Al-Freihi H. Perspective on the Saudi council for health specialities. Saudi J Gastroenterol 2003;9:1-5

How to cite this URL:
Al-Freihi H. Perspective on the Saudi council for health specialities. Saudi J Gastroenterol [serial online] 2003 [cited 2023 Jan 29];9:1-5. Available from:

The Saudi Council for Health Specialties (SCHS) is a scientific body having a corporate entity. It was established by a Royal decree No. M/2 on 6.2.1413H. (1993G.) with headquarters sited in Riyadh and three branches in Jeddah (Western region), Al Khobar (Eastern region) and Abha (Southern region).

   Objectives and Functions Top

The Council was entrusted with the following aims:

  1. Design, accredit and supervise training programs.
  2. Establish scientific boards to implement training programs.
  3. Assess and accredit health establishments (hospitals) for training purposes and specialization.
  4. Supervise examinations in various specialties and approve their results.
  5. Issuance of professional certificates, diplomas, fellowships and memberships.
  6. Coordinate with other councils, societies, and health colleges inside the Kingdom and abroad.
  7. Evaluate and equalize health practice certificates.
  8. Promote research, publication of scientific papers within its field.
  9. Participate in the proposal of general health plans aiming at development of health manpower.
  10. Hold symposia and conferences.
  11. Establish guidelines and standards for health practice including medical profession ethics.
  12. Encourage scientific health research.
  13. Approve the establishment of scientific and professional societies on health specialties.

   Administration Top

The Council has a well-established administration to run its business with clear mandate and tasks designation for each department and individual. In brief the administration is organized as follows:

  1. Board of Trustees: supervises the SCHS's administration and consists of:
    • His Excellency Minister of Health (Chairman).
    • The SCHS's Secretary General (Rappoteur).
    • The members representing various concerned authorities like Ministry of Health, the Saudi Health Faculties, and Medical Services in Military Corps and Private Hospitals.

  2. Executive Council: supervises all administrative and technical activities of the SCHS and consists of:
    • The SCHS's Secretary General (Chairman).
    • The Assistant Secretary General for Technical Affairs (Rapporteur).
    • The Assistant Secretary General for Administrative and Financial Affairs (Member).
    • The SCHS's Scientific Boards Chairmen (17 Members).
  3. Professional Departments:

    3-1. Training & Supervision:

            Keeps records of the trainees, follows up matters concerning trainees and organizes the SCHS's exams, scientific boards and training committees meetings.

    3-2. Continuing Medical Education:

            Aims at developing the health practitioners skills and update their medical knowledge.

    3-3. Accreditation:

            Attests qualifications and experience, verify authenticity of health certificates and evaluate health practitioners' skills and determine their appropriate practice level (title) according to their scientific certificates and practical experience.

    3-4. Registration:

            Establishes database about health practitioners to follow them up to ensure maintenance of acceptable professional abilities, sound ethics and fulfillment of required continuing medical education.
  4. Supporting Departments:

            4-1 Public relations.
            4-2. Computer.
            4-3 Finance.
            4-4. Personnel Affairs.
            4-5. Purchasing.
            4-6. Maintenance.

   Established Scientific Boards & Committees Top

At present there are 17 Scientific Boards that fulfill the following tasks:

  1. Designing and supervising Training Programs.
  2. Preparing Specialties Examination and approving their Results.
  3. Evaluating hospitals and health centers for the purpose of training and recognizing these hospitals and health centers partly or totally for training.
  4. Taking part in evaluating and equalizing the professional certificates.
  5. Formulating regulations and criteria for professional practice.
  6. Advising SCHS on: Credentials, Planning, Codes, Establishment of Scientific professional societies, Licensing..etc.

   Existing Scientific Boards and Scientific Committees Top

These professional bodies responsible for implementation of various training programs offered by the Council at the present time. They include the following:

  1. Internal Medicine Board and it includes the following committees :
    • Gastroenterology/Hepatology
    • Nephrology
    • Neurology
    • Cardiology
  2. OB/Gyne
  3. Family Medicine
  4. Pediatrics Board and includes the following committees :
    • Pediatric intensive care (PIC).
    • Neonatal intensive care (NIC).
    • Pediatric Nephrology
  5. Gen. Surgery, Board and includes the following committees:
    • Neurosurgery
    • Emergency Medicine.
    • Pediatric Surgery
    • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  6. Dentistry Board and includes the following committees:
    • Restorative Dentistry
    • Orthodontics
    • Maxillo-Facial Surgery
  7. Urology
  8. Orthopedics
  9. Ophthalmology
  10. ENT And Head And Neck surgery
  11. Psychiatry
  12. Dermatology
  13. Anesthesia and Intensive Care
  14. Radiology
  15. Allied Medical Technology
  16. Nursing
  17. Clinical Pharmacy

   Permanent Committees of Scientific Boards Top

Each scientific board or committee has the following permanent committees to assist the board/committee in executing its tasks:

  • Central Training Committee is responsible for the implementation of the training programs all over the Kingdom.
  • Examination Committee is responsible for preparing and organizing various exams including the finals (written and clinical).
  • Training & Accreditation Committee is responsible for supervising and recognizing training centers and keeping vigilance that centers once recognized will maintain appropriate requirement.
  • Regional Supervisory Committee is responsible for implementation of the training programs at regional level and distribution of trainees in various approved rotations in designated centers.

   Training In Medical Specialties and Allied Health Sciences Top

Training is an objective and structured program with gradual progress from one level to the other according to professional abilities and performance of the trainee. It is carried out in hospitals accredited by the Council according to the general and special accreditation rules and regulations. The training program's period lasts from 4 to 6 years for general specialties and 2 to 3 years for subspecialties. The objectives of the training programs are to quaint trainees with knowledge and provide them with skills in their specialty and enable them to obtain the Saudi & Arab board specialty certificate. These training programs are presently offered in 44 modern training centers staffed with highly qualified consultants all over the Kingdom. [Table - 1] reflects the number of trainees registered with SCHS as of September, 2002.

   The Saudi Specialty Certificate Top

It is the highest specialty degree (equivalent to PH.D) in the specialty of medicine. It is awarded to those who pass part one board examination during the training and complete their training successfully according to the predetermined requirement and period of training. After successful completion of the training period, candidates should pass the final written and clinical examination to attain the specialty certificate. The Saudi specialty examination is held at least once a year and only those who are registered with SCHS are eligible to sit for the exam. [Table - 2] reflects the number of graduates over the past five years.

   Equalization of Health Professionals Certificates Top

The aim of this procedure is to evaluate professional health manpower training, ascertain authenticity of certificates, determining their experience and finally test their performance skills to designate the suitable professional title in accordance with approved bylaws in the Kingdom. To achieve this goal the Saudi Council scrutinizes all requests and holds regular examinations five times per year in more than 20 examination centers scattered all over the Kingdom.

The exam offered in more than 40 different health specialties. In addition direct evaluation is conducted by selected committees throughout the year for certain professionals like consultants. The procedure is supervised by the equalization committee which consists of members from various health sectors, representing the main health disciplines (medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and nursing).

[Table - 3] reflects the number of equalization requests processed by the council over the past five years.

   Professional Registration Top

The main objective of the Professional Registration is to create a database for practitioners in a system that allows smooth and accurate follow up of their practice and carier. A decree no. 1476/11 dated 5/7/1418 H. was issued by His Excellency the Minister of Health and Chairman of the SCHS Board of Trustees making professional registration compulsory for all health practitioners in the Kingdom in both governmental and private sector. The validity of registration is limited to three years.

The Professional Registration aims to:

  1. Ascertain that a practitioner can safely perform the tasks of his/her profession.
  2. Ensure authenticity of certificates and experience of practitioners.
  3. Inform practitioners on bylaws, ethics of professional practice in K.S.A.
  4. Keep vigilance on the practice of health professions.
  5. Ensure compulsory continuing medical education.
  6. Protect society from unqualified practitioners through denying them accreditation to practice in the kingdom.

To renew registration the practitioner should have a clean practice record sound professional ethics and complete continuing medical education hours: 90 hours for Physicians and 60 hours for Pharmacists. [Table - 4] reflects the total number of practitioners who have been registered with the council since the registration system was implemented in June 1999.

   The Health Forum Magazine Top

The Health Forum is a magazine specialized in health field issued monthly by SCHS. More than 10000 copies of health Forum are printed monthly and distributed free of charge on more than 4000 subscribers and more than 300 hospitals and some other points inside and outside K.S.A. The Health Forum contains variety of important health and social subjects, SCHS news, research and scientific articles.

Through The Health Forum the SCHS announces dates, hours and places of recognized activities for the continuing medical education.

   The Saudi Council Web Site Top

To cope with the recent development in communications and to provide best services to the public, the Saudi Council has established a web site in early 1421-H (2000 G). The web site has 300 pages in English and Arabic and is well designed to provide full information in an uncomplicated way. The site consists of main icons, which briefs the visitors about the Saudi Council, its main functions, training programs, professional registration, continuous education events, evaluation & equalization procedures etc. There are also branch icons about the examination's dates and results and the location of the Saudi Council.

The web site address:

E-Mail: [email protected]

Correspondence Address:
Hussein Al-Freihi
Prof. of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, King Saud University
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 19861802

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  [Table - 1], [Table - 2], [Table - 3], [Table - 4]


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