Guide to DBS Checks for Pharmacy Employees
Guide to DBS Checks for Pharmacy Employees
Some jobs and careers need a more strict vetting procedure than others. Not only do pharmacists deal closely with the public all day long, sometimes in private if a medication consultation is required, they are also entrusted with medication that can be sold to criminals for sale on the black market, such as certain types of opioids.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that most pharmacy employees are required to pass a DBS check before starting work. However, the level of DBS check (basic, standard, or enhanced) requested depends on the type of job that the individual is being hired to do.
In this article we’ll explain what type of pharmacist roles require certain levels of DBS check and how to apply for them.
What do we mean by DBS check?
A DBS check is a criminal record search and report that is undertaken for people planning to work with vulnerable groups or in roles that require evidence of good character, e.g. positions of trust.
Most healthcare roles require a DBS check. But the level of check required varies depending on the job description. For instance, all doctors and nurses require the highest level enhanced DBS with barred list check, as they are in regular contact with vulnerable people, often one-to-one.
When it comes to pharmacy workers, the level of DBS check needed depends on what they do within the pharmacy and the responsibilities of the role.
Different pharmacy roles and the DBS checks required
All pharmacies have a nominated resident pharmacist, who takes overall responsibility for the pharmacy operations. Typically, to become a resident pharmacist you need to be qualified with a Master of Pharmacy degree (MPharm).
As the person with the highest level of responsibility within a pharmacy, they are required to complete an Enhanced DBS check with a barred list check. They need to be cleared to work with vulnerable adults and children, as their duties as the head of the pharmacy include “regulated activity”, as defined by the Disclosure and Barring Service in the UK.
Pharmacy Technicians & Pharmacy Dispensary Assistants
Pharmacy technicians and pharmacy dispensary assistants perform similar tasks in their role, but technicians are more trained and therefore have slightly more responsibility. For instance, a pharmacy technician may have signing authority for repeat prescriptions or refills, whereas a dispensary assistant may not.
The type of DBS check required for both roles are generally the same. However, the level of DBS check does vary depending on the location of the pharmacy. In general, the requirements are as follows:
- Hospital Pharmacy – Enhanced DBS with barred list check
- GP Surgery Pharmacy – Enhanced DBS with barred list check
- Community Pharmacy (high street shop) – Enhanced DBS only
As you can see, pharmacy technicians and assistants at all locations need to undergo an enhanced DBS check, but at high street pharmacies there is usually no requirement to undertake a barred list check as well. This is down to the fact that it is assumed that vulnerable groups attending a high street pharmacy will be accompanied by a responsible person, and the resident pharmacist is likely to be directly on-hand to intervene if not.
Additional & Auxiliary Staff
Some pharmacies employ additional people to perform other tasks and duties. This typically applies to high street pharmacies that sell extra goods such as cosmetics and non-pharmaceutical health treatments. Additional or auxiliary staff are not involved in dispensing medicine or interacting in private with customers, so they usually do not require a DBS check of any level.
However, many employers decide to carry out a basic DBS check to get an idea of a person’s trustworthiness. Carrying out a DBS check on all pharmacy employees helps to improve the peace of mind of both the employer and customers.
DBS check levels – what they reveal and how they work
Here is a brief description of the various DBS check levels and how they work:
- Basic DBS Check – Checks the Police National Computer (PNC) for only unspent criminal convictions. Any individual can request a basic check for themself or on behalf of another person (with consent).
- Standard DBS Check – Same as the basic check, but also reveals spent conviction, cautions, warnings, and reprimands. Cannot be requested for yourself, only employers can request them.
- Enhanced DBS Check – Same as the standard check, but also reveals any other information that police hold on the individual, such as interview notes.
- Enhanced DBS with Barred List Check – Sames as the enhanced check, with an additional check of the DBS barred list for those disqualified from working with vulnerable adults or children.
Convenient online checks
All of the DBS checks outlined above can be done easily and quickly online, with results often available within 48 hours of application.
Only basic DBS checks can be requested by an individual. Standard and enhanced checks must be requested by an employer or organisation with the individual’s consent.
Make sure you get the right checks for your pharmacy, or before applying for a job at a pharmacy. Contact us today to find out more about our online DBS checks.