DBS Checks for NHS Workers

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The NHS is the UK’s largest employer and involves a huge range of workers. Along with the front like doctors, midwives and pharmacists, there is also a behind-the-scenes team of admin staff, management, and lots of other workers who keep the NHS going. Even if you’re not medically trained, there’s every chance that you could end up working for the health services at some point in your career. Along with the standard application form and interview, you’ll probably be asked to apply for a DBS Check. Here’s everything you need to know about this process.

Which NHS Workers Need a DBS Check

A DBS check – or a Disclosure and Barring Service check – is another term for a criminal records check. There are grades and levels of DBS check, and the level of check you require will depend on the job you will be doing. In general terms, staff members who are working directly with patients, such as nurses or porters, will have the most detailed level of Enhanced Disclosure. Other workers, such as catering staff or office staff who are based in a hospital but who don’t have face to face contact with patients, may only require a standard disclosure check. The good news is that it’s not up to you to work out what sort of check you’ll need. That’s what the NHS recruiters will do, and the requirement for a check is usually clearly stated on any job advertisement. 

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The Application Process

If you apply for a job that needs a DBS check, this is usually done after the interviews, when job offers are made. The NHS doesn’t have the time or resources to check everyone who applies for a position. Therefore, if you’re successful at the interview, any job offer will be made “pending a DBS check”. Sometimes, you’ll be able to start work immediately, and complete training or other activities under supervision until your full check certificate comes through. In other situations, you may have to wait. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, workers for the NHS and other healthcare organizations have their applications fast-tracked through the system. However, it is likely that this will come to an end at some point in the future. The good news is that the NHS processes thousands of DBS checks each year and will have experts on hand to walk you through the procedure for application.

What Will the Certificate Show

A DBS certificate shows a range of detail depending on the level of the check. A recent change in the law has formalized what appears on DBS checks, and certificates will no longer show very minor youth convictions from the distant past, or cautions. Even if you do have some convictions which are more recent, there is no hard and fast rule which says you must have a clear DBS check to be employed. Recruiters will make individual decisions based on all the information in front of them, and a DBS check is just part of that.

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