A Guide To DBS Checks for Hospitals
Hospitals are a place of work that rely on criminal record checks to safeguard patients and outpatients. It is a legal requirement that DBS Checks are carried out to ensure the safety of vulnerable people.
It can be challenging for hospital managers to decide which roles need a DBS Check and if so, what level of check is needed.
The legislation and guidelines that are in place for DBS Checks for hospitals can be a bit confusing, so we’ve written this brief guide to help you make sense of it all.
Healthcare providers and DBS Checks
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in England and Wales and Disclosure Scotland provide guidance on which healthcare related roles require DBS Checks and the level needed.
Any person that provides healthcare within a hospital setting to vulnerable adults or children, will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check and a check of the adult’s or children’s barred list. This is because the role will be classed as a ‘regulated activity’.
An Enhanced DBS Check is the highest level of DBS Check available and reveals any spent and unspent convictions, cautions, warnings, and reprimands, as well as any relevant information held on police file. This level of check helps to prevent potentially dangerous applicants from taking up a safeguarding-critical role.
Other regulated activities in hospitals
In a hospital, there will be other staff members that do not provide healthcare, but they are still engaged in a regulated activity, as defined by the DBS. A regulated activity is one that involves working directly with children or vulnerable adults on a frequent basis (on three or more occasions within a 30 day period).
If the role is a regulated activity, then it will require an Enhanced DBS Check with a barred list check.
For example, a hospital role that may be considered as a regulated activity without being healthcare related is a porter who helps patients to move between wards and clinics. In technical terms, this is known as ‘conveying’ patients that are receiving healthcare, which means it is a regulated activity and will need an Enhanced DBS Check with a barred list check.
Hospital employees that are not involved in regulated activities
Within a hospital organisation, there will be dozens of employees who are not involved in either direct healthcare or any other similar regulated activity.
For example, hospitals employ administrative staff, cleaners, caterers, and shop workers. The only time that these kinds of roles will be considered to be a regulated activity is if they have direct access into patient wards and direct contact with patients.
Any person working within a hospital that can access patient wards during the course of their duties, is eligible for at least a Standard DBS Check, because they will be coming into contact with patients. This includes some catering staff and cleaners.
However, if the role doesn’t involve patient ward access, for instance a chef in the hospital restaurant, then they are unlikely to need a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check, as any contact with patients they may have will be incidental and not related to their role.
If you’re unsure whether a hospital role will need a DBS Check or not, you can use the NHS employer DBS Checks eligibility tool to find out.
Basic DBS Checks for other roles
Any applicant for a hospital role that doesn’t need a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check, is able to get a Basic DBS Check, as long as they are aged 16 years or older. The individual can submit a Basic DBS Check application for themselves, whereas a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check needs verification from an employer or DBS registered body.
A Basic DBS Check reveals unspent convictions and conditional cautions only.
Summary of DBS Checks for hospitals
Hospitals employ a large number of staff and it can be difficult to work out which roles need DBS Checks and what level of check is needed.
To work out whether a role needs a DBS Check, and which level of DBS Check may be needed, use the following steps:
- Consider the nature of the role.
- If the role involves working directly with children or vulnerable adults, on a frequent basis, then it is a regulated activity.
- A regulated activity is one that requires an Enhanced DBS Check and barred list check.
- If the role involves providing healthcare on a frequent basis, it is a regulated activity.
- If the role does not involve healthcare, it may be eligible for a Standard or Basic DBS check instead.
If you would like to find out more about DBS Checks, including DBS Checks for hospital employees, then get in touch with one of our expert advisors today.