DBS Checks for Hospitals: The Legislation Explained

The nature of hospitals means that ensuring employees have criminal record checks is paramount to adhere to safeguarding measures. But DBS checks for hospitals can be tricky to navigate.

DBS checks for hospitals

The large number of different roles in hospitals means that varying levels of checks will be required. So, who needs which level of check?

To simplify the legislation, we’ve created this guide to DBS checks for hospitals. It’s designed to inform you about which staff members are eligible for checks, but also which level is most suitable for them.

Employees who provide healthcare

One of the easiest ways to differentiate between job roles and confirm which level of DBS check is most suitable is to consider whether the individual is providing healthcare.

If an applicant is providing healthcare in a hospital, then they’ll be entitled to an enhanced DBS check with both a children’s and adult’s barred list check. This is the most comprehensive level of criminal record check available, and makes sure that those who provide healthcare in the hospital have been DBS checked to the highest standard.

Employees engaging in regulated activity

There may be some staff who won’t be providing healthcare, but will be engaging in another form of regulated activity.

This means the nature of some activities they carry out makes them eligible for an enhanced DBS check with a check of the applicable barred lists – depending on the nature of they work they’ll be undertaking.

An example of a role like this would be a porter who transports patients between wards. This would be classed as ‘conveying’ those in receipt of healthcare, and would entitle the porter to an enhanced check with a check of both barred lists.

Employees who do not provide healthcare

With the large numbers of employees working in hospitals, there are many who won’t be providing healthcare or engaging in any other form of regulated activity.

Examples of roles like this include cleaners, administrators and catering assistants. To determine whether these roles would be eligible for a DBS check, the individual’s access to patient wards should be taken into consideration.

Any hospital employee who has access to patient wards as part of their job will be eligible for a standard DBS check. This means that cleaners and catering assistants who work in wards when patients are receiving care would be eligible for this check.

If, however, an employee does not have access to wards as part of their role, such as a catering assistant in the hospital restaurant, then they would not be eligible for a DBS check. This is because their contact with patients would be classed as incidental, just like anyone who visits the hospital.

For further examples of the various roles in a hospital, and which level of check they need, please visit the NHS employers’ DBS check eligibility tool.

Which check should be requested for those not eligible for a DBS?

If an individual doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria for a standard or enhanced DBS check, then a basic disclosure can be requested on their behalf.

This check will detail any unspent convictions the applicant has, commonly meaning anything recent/serious.

This check is not a DBS check, but a criminal record check offered by another governing body. The check can be requested by any employer on behalf of their employees, or by an individual themselves.

DBS checks for hospitals: a summary

DBS checks for hospitals can be tricky to understand due to the large number of roles.

Here are some key points to remember when requesting DBS checks for hospitals:

  • Confirm the level of check needed for each member of staff depending on the nature of their role
  • Consider whether the role involves providing healthcare, or another form of regulated activity
  • If not, review whether the individual will have access to patient wards as part of their job role
  • Remember, DBS checks can only be requested by an employer. Individuals cannot request this level of check themselves.

Looking to get started requesting DBS checks? Register with us here, or get in touch with our UK-based support team for more information.