DBS Checks for Pharmacists and Medicine Handlers
A question we get asked a lot is “do you need to get a DBS Check if your job involves handling medication and drugs?”
It’s not surprising that so many people ask this question, as handling pharmaceuticals is a highly responsible role that takes place in a heavily regulated setting and industry. However, it isn’t always clear what level of DBS Check people actually need – Basic, Standard, or Enhanced.
In this brief guide, we’ll look at some of the rules surrounding handling controlled drugs and the criminal record checks that people working in these roles need to get.
Controlled Drugs Licence for People Handling Medication
The UK Government Home Office deals with the licensing of controlled drugs in the UK. People who work in a role that involves handling medications and drugs need to submit an application to the Drugs and Firearms Licensing Unit (DFLU).
If you are unsure whether the drugs you are handling are controlled substances or not, then you can refer to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 for clarification. The UK government also has a list of common controlled drugs on their website here.
To apply for the controlled drug licence, the rules stipulate that you must first get an Enhanced DBS Certificate.
Enhanced DBS Checks for Controlled Drugs Licensees
An Enhanced DBS Check is a criminal background check that highlights any unspent or spent convictions, reprimands, cautions, and warnings that the individual has on their criminal record, plus any relevant notes or information that local police forces hold.
Eligibility criteria for Enhanced DBS Checks is covered in The Police Act 1997 (criminal records) Regulations 2002 and 2009 amendments.
An Enhanced DBS Check can be broadly categorised into three eligible groups: working with vulnerable adults, working with children, and other workforce. The details are specific to each individual role.
An applicant for a Controlled Drugs Licence can apply for the check using the “other workforce” option. This is approved in Regulation 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001. More information about this regulation can be found on this website.
DBS Checks for Workers Delivering Medication
In recent years, it has become increasingly common for medication to be delivered directly to patients at their home address. Pharmacies and GP surgeries employ drivers to deliver the medicine and people carrying out this role will require a Basic DBS Check.
Basic DBS Checks can be applied for by anybody who is aged 16 years or older. The Basic DBS Check reveals unspent convictions and conditional cautions only.
An exception to this occurs when the person who delivers the medicine is also a healthcare worker that is also carrying out a regulated activity. In this case, they will need to get an Enhanced DBS Check to cover the regulated activity.
A hospital employee that delivers medication to patients within the hospital and is in contact with patients will require a minimum of a Standard DBS Check and possibly an Enhanced DBS Check if the role includes regulated activities.
Pharmacy Employees DBS Checks
The level of DBS Check required for pharmacists and medicine dispensers depends on each individual role. If the role involves a regulated activity or handling controlled drugs then they will need to get an Enhanced DBS Check.
To find out more about DBS Checks for people handling controlled substances, or you have any questions about DBS Checks in general, then get in touch today.