All You Need To Know About GP Surgery DBS Checks
DBS checks are used as part of the vetting process for jobs that have a degree of responsibility or involve working directly with children or vulnerable adults. The job of a GP has both a high level of responsibility and involves working with vulnerable people, so it should come as no surprise that holding a DBS certificate is a mandatory requirement for any GP and many of the other staff that work at a GP surgery.
The safety and security of patients is paramount when they visit a GP surgery and DBS checks help to create this situation. This article will take an in-depth look at DBS checks and how they apply to GP surgeries.
Do All GPs Need A DBS Check?
Most, if not all, medical professionals require a DBS certificate, and GPs are no exception. In fact, it is a legal requirement of the role, which means you will not be able to work at a GP surgery unless you have a DBS certificate that meets the criteria.
Patient safety is the number one priority and GPs regularly work with elderly and disabled adults, as well as minors, so it is important that people who want to become a GP are willing to undergo a thorough background check.
The surgery that the GP works at is responsible for making sure that the DBS check is carried out. If it comes out later that the GP has previous criminal convictions that were not revealed both the GP and the surgery are liable for it.
Do All GP Surgery Staff Need a DBS Check?
In general, yes, all staff need some kind of DBS check. The level of DBS check that is required varies depending on the role.
Any employee working within a GP surgery that has some kind of healthcare duties, such as administering treatment, taking blood samples, giving vaccinations, or checking for symptoms will work directly with patients, including those from vulnerable groups, so they will definitely need to get a DBS certificate.
This includes GP doctors, specialist doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, nursing assistants, and trainee doctors and nurses.
Senior doctors that may not do any hands-on treatment, but oversee the treatment of patients will also need a DBS check.
Auxiliary staff within a GP surgery that may not have direct responsibility for healthcare, will still require DBS checks, such as receptionists and volunteer staff. Anyone that has contact with vulnerable groups or handles sensitive data would benefit from a thorough background check.
Basically, anybody who deals with patients, carers or relatives of patients, social workers, and other individuals within the setting of the GP surgery, will need to undergo safeguarding checks and training.
What Level of DBS Check Is Required?
The level of DBS check needed depends on the type of role in question. There are three levels of DBS check that reveal different details about a person’s criminal record:
- Basic DBS Check – Reveals unspent convictions only.
- Standard DBS Check – Reveals spent and unspent convictions, as well as any cautions, warnings, or reprimands.
- Enhanced DBS Check – Reveals the same as the standard check, as well as any relevant police notes and relevant allegations or pending matters on the person’s file. A DBS barred list check can also be requested alongside the enhanced DBS check for regulated activities involving children or vulnerable adults.
Any member of GP surgery staff that administers medical care or healthcare will need to apply for an enhanced DBS check with barred list, as this role is considered to be a “regulated activity” as defined by the DBS. Regulated activities must have the highest level of DBS check as a safeguarding measure.
Other roles such as receptionists or volunteers may only need a basic DBS check or standard DBS check.
Basic DBS checks are the only type that can be applied for and submitted by the individual themselves. Standard and enhanced DBS checks must be checked and submitted by the employer or registered body, as certain details and criteria need to be verified first.
How To Apply for A DBS Check
There are two ways to apply for a DBS check – using a hand-written form that is submitted by post or online using an internet browser application form. Online applications are faster to process, yield quicker results, and are less prone to error than the postal method.
If the employee only needs a basic DBS check, they can fill in an online form themselves, without any input from the GP surgery.
For standard and enhanced DBS checks, the GP surgery will need to verify ID documents, proof of address, and other specific details on the application form before submitting it.
The average wait time to receive the DBS certificate is between 2 to 4 weeks, but with online applications, you often get the results within 48 hours. The length of time to receive the actual printed certificate from the DBS varies depending on location and how busy the service is at that particular time.
The few months leading up to the start of the school year is a particularly busy time for DBS offices as schools are checking new staff before they begin in September.
Are Any Other Background Checks Required for GP Surgery Staff?
The DBS check forms a major part of the background check as it checks the individual’s criminal record, but GP surgery managers should also do reference checks and qualification checks as a standard.
The GP surgery manager should also contact the regulatory bodies that deal with GP surgeries, such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC), to find out what the latest requirements are, especially around safeguarding policy.
Make Sure Your GP Surgery is Fully Safeguarded
The big takeaway from this article is that it is very important for GP surgery managers or senior doctors to do their due diligence and run thorough background checks on their employees and new recruits, including the appropriate level of DBS check for the role.
You should never take shortcuts when it comes to safeguarding, especially in a healthcare environment such as a GP surgery. The safety and security of patients and people who accompany them is paramount.
To find out more about DBS checks and how to apply for them online, get in touch with a member of our expert team today.