DBS Checks for NHS Staff: Our Guide

DBS checks for NHS staff
The National Health Service is the largest employer in the UK. In fact, it’s the
fifth largest employer in the world, with around 1.7 million employees.

A significant proportion of those employees regularly comes into contact with children and vulnerable adults – so security around employment is understandably tight.

Job applicants who have been successful at interview and offered a job are required to undergo a series of employment checks. These can include checks on employment history, proof of identity, qualifications and professional registration and occupational health checks.

Depending on the role, job applicants may also be required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Our guide explains everything you need to know about DBS checks for NHS staff.

Which roles within the NHS require a DBS check?

Certain roles will require the employer to check whether the applicant has a criminal record. An offer of employment will be dependent on a satisfactory disclosure from the DBS.

As a general rule, any role which involves having access to patients in receipt of health services will require a DBS check.

Non-healthcare roles involving contact with patients usually require a standard DBS check. Examples of these roles include maintenance workers, catering staff, administrators and porters.

A standard DBS check will reveal any spent or unspent convictions, cautions or reprimands the applicant has.

If the role involves working in a regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults, an enhanced DBS check may be required.

An enhanced DBS check will reveal any spent or unspent convictions, cautions or reprimands, plus any relevant information held by local police.

Do applicants need to declare previous convictions?

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 states that ex-offenders do not have to declare criminal convictions to employers after a rehabilitation period has elapsed and the convictions have become spent. Unspent convictions must be declared to employers.

In order to protect vulnerable people, certain roles within the health and care sectors are exempt from these rules under the The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

Applicants for these roles are required to declare any convictions they have, even if they’re spent.

However, further legislation means that certain spent convictions and cautions become protected if specific conditions are met. These convictions won’t be disclosed in a DBS check.

DBS checks for NHS staff: a summary

Roles within the NHS involving contact with patients generally require a DBS check. The level of check required will depend on the type of role.

Roles that involve regular care or supervision of children or vulnerable adults usually require an enhanced DBS check.

If you’d like more information about which roles are eligible for a DBS check, get in touch with us today.