No more private licences for state doctors, says board

Doctors in public facilities will seek permission from employer to run their private clinics

In Summary

• Initially, they would get part-time licences from the board that indicated they would work in their clinics on weekends or after their official working hours. 

• But they were found to report to their clinics during working hours at their places of employment. 

Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board CEO Daniel Yumbya
DESERTION OF WORK: Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board CEO Daniel Yumbya
Image: FILE

From January, doctors working in public hospitals will no longer have a licence to work in private clinics. 

According to Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, any government doctor wishing to offer services at a private clinic must first clear with the management of the public hospital he or she works for. 

Speaking during a press brief in Nairobi on Friday, board CEO Daniel Yumbya said the responsibility of deciding on dual practice will now fall on the employer.


"This means if a doctor is working for a certain institution and they need to run their private clinic, they will be given permission by their employer," he said. 

Initially, doctors would get part-time licences from the board that indicated they would work in their clinics on weekends or after their official working hours.

"But you would go to their facilities at 10am and find patients booked and you may even find the practitioner there," he said.

"Now, the doctor will have to seek permission from the employer to go to their private clinic so that the employer has total control."

Speaking to the Star on the phone, Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists' Union Secretary-General Ouma Oluga said the move is okay because doctors would still be issued with one licence. 

"It will be upon you and your employer to agree on the time you will work and what you do with your free time is up to you," he said. 

Additionally, the board expressed its support for the formation of a Health Commission as proposed in the BBI report. 


The report recommends the transfer of health sector personnel elements from county governments to an independent Health Service Commission to enable the sharing of limited health experts. 

Yumbya said the commission will work from counties and will be instrumental to resolve the problems they have been facing since devolution.

These include the maldistribution of healthcare workers, national training needs, industrial strikes and decongestion of hospitals. 

Data from the council show out of 2,500 specialists, about 1,400 are based in Nairobi, 158 in Mombasa, 140 in Uasin Gishu and 138 in Kiambu. 

The rest are distributed among the remaining counties with 20 counties having less than 10 medical specialists. 

Counties with the least number of medical specialists include Isiolo, Nandi and Nyandarua with four; Lamu, Migori, Turkana, Vihiga and West Pokot with three; Mandera with two and Samburu with one. 

Ouf of the 122 dental specialists, Nairobi has 89, Uasin Gishu (nine), Mombasa (seven) and Nyeri (four). 

Kericho, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Kisii, Nyamira, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga all have one dental specialist. 

"Due to this, patients now prefer to go to congest Kenyatta National Hospital. These patients would have otherwise been managed and treated by specialists within their county," Yumbya said. 

With the health commission in place, he added, counties will be able to put in their demands and specialists will be distributed.

"That will enable us also to establish an internship training centre in every county." 

He added, "So far we have 85 internship training centres based on the availability of specialists and some counties have not been considered as training centres." 

Yumbya also said the commission would keep a register of doctors under national government training to avoid confusion.   

"If doctors are undergoing training, they should not be considered to be working." 

Edited by R.Wamochie