DBS Certificates for NHS Workers

The NHS is the UK’s largest employer, with a workforce of around 1.5 million. If you don’t work for them, then the chances are that someone you know does. In such a large organisation, there is a wide range of different occupations. Most people are aware that healthcare is one of the sectors where DBS certificates are required for workers. But the picture is a bit more complicated than that. The type of disclosure you will need will depend on the role you are employed in.

Three Levels of DBS Certificates

Most of the confusion comes from the fact that not all DBS checks are the same. There are three different types of DBS check; basic, standard and enhanced. A basic disclosure only shows up your current, unspent convictions. Anyone can apply for a basic disclosure at any time. Unlike the other sorts of checks, basic disclosures don’t have to be done in connection with any particular job. Self-employed people can apply for them too. As these types of disclosure don’t have to be done in connection with a particular job, they are not a legal requirement. Not many people working in the NHS will require a basic DBS check.

Standard Disclosure

The middle level of disclosure in terms of detail is a standard disclosure. This is the sort of check which applies to people in positions of responsibility, usually in terms of finance. So if you’re applying for a job running a multi-million pounds NHS budget, or are involved in signing off procurement contracts, this is the type of disclosure which applies. Standard disclosures might also apply to people who work in hospitals or health centres, but who don’t have direct patient contact. Reception staff in your GP surgery, consultants’ secretaries or people who work in hospital records all require a standard disclosure.

Enhanced Disclosure

This is the most detailed level of checking. Many people mistakenly believe that all NHS workers need to be checked to the same enhanced level, but this isn’t true. Enhanced disclosure checks only apply to people with close patient contact. This covers not only doctors and nurses, but also similar health professionals such as speech therapists, pharmacists and healthcare assistants. An enhanced disclosure looks into someone’s full criminal record, not just offences which are serious or more recent. It doesn’t mean that you need a completely clean DBS check to work as a healthcare assistant in the NHS. A single, minor conviction probably won’t make much difference. A string of convictions, or a jail term for something serious, is another matter.

Applying for DBS Certificates

The good news is that as the NHS employs so many people, they know exactly what they are doing when it comes to applying for a DBS certificate. They will have people who can help you through the whole process, from filling in the application form through to proving your identity. In most cases, the NHS will cover the cost of the application too. If do have to pay the money yourself, the NHS usually refunds it in your first pay check.