DBS Checks for Pharmacists – Do You Need A DBS Check To Dispense Medicine?
Most people realise that people working in healthcare facilities that offer hands-on care and medical support need to apply for a DBS Check. But when it comes to working in a pharmacy, it’s not so clear.
A question we are asked a lot is: are DBS Checks in pharmacies mandatory for all employees or just the dispensing chemist?
This guide will talk you through the basics of DBS checks and explain which type of check is appropriate for each role within a pharmacy.
Which roles in a pharmacy require a DBS check?
The first thing to realise about pharmacies is that the same rules as GP surgeries, medical centres, and hospitals do not apply. The reason for this is that not all employees at a dispensing pharmacy are hands-on or carry the same level of responsibility.
Whether a certain role needs a DBS check, and if so, what level of check, is decided by the type of activities carried out within the role. Let’s take a look at the different job roles present in a typical pharmacy outlet and what type of DBS check, if any, is required for each.
Dispensing Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician DBS Checks
Dispensing pharmacists, sometimes referred to as chemists, hold the most responsible job in a pharmacy. They are in overall charge of providing medicines and healthcare guidance to customers or service users.
Pharmacists need to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), the body that regulates the industry in the UK. The GPhC stipulates that all pharmacists need to get an Enhanced DBS Check with a barred list check because they are involved in a “regulated activity”, as defined by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Pharmacy Technicians are also regulated by the GPhC and are expected to get an Enhanced DBS Check with a barred list check. The reason for this is that Pharmacy Technicians often deal directly with the public and offer healthcare guidance.
Pharmacy Delivery Driver DBS Checks
Most UK pharmacies offer a delivery service to people’s homes or to healthcare establishments such as elderly care homes.
A delivery person that doesn’t deliver controlled drugs or provide direct healthcare guidance or support won’t need an Enhanced DBS Check. However, many pharmacies request that their delivery personnel have a Basic DBS Check. A Basic DBS Check reveals and unspent convictions and conditional cautions, so it helps the pharmacy to check on the character of the employee.
Delivery personnel that deliver controlled drugs will require an Enhanced DBS Check and need to be registered with the controlled drugs licensing system. You can find more information on controlled drug licensing and DBS checks on the home office website here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/controlled-drugs-domestic-licences
Pharmacy Assistant and Dispenser DBS Checks
DBS Checks for pharmacy assistants and pharmacy dispensers are not as straightforward as the other roles. The level of check required depends on the location of the pharmacy where they are based.
Usually, the pharmacy assistant will also be involved in giving healthcare advice and guidance (under the supervision of the main pharmacist). This means that they will be required to apply for an Enhanced DBS Check.
Pharmacy assistants and dispensers may need a barred list check too if they are in direct contact with children or vulnerable adults. They may also need a Child and Adult Workforce Check if they are giving healthcare advice and guidance, but not under the direction of a doctor or experienced medical professional.
In some cases, pharmacy assistants are not required to give any healthcare advice or guidance to people, so they will only require a Standard DBS Check to make sure that they are of good character.
Other Pharmacy Roles That May Require DBS Checks
Any other person or volunteer that works in a pharmacy that comes into regular contact with the public and patients, will be eligible for a Standard DBS Check.
For pharmacy employees who are not in regular direct contact with the public, the lowest level of check will be enough, which is a Basic DBS Check.
Pharmacy workers are expected to be responsible and safe individuals as they are dealing with the public and often provide healthcare advice. Pharmacists, technicians, and assistants are often required to provide direct support to children and vulnerable adults, which means that they need an Enhanced DBS Check with a barred list check.
Employees that are not in direct, frequent contact with patients will either require a Basic or Standard DBS Check.
You can talk to us about any of the issues covered in this short guide or ask any questions you may have about DBS checks. Get in touch with one of our expert team members today.