Nurse / NHS


DBS checks apply to all students who, as part of their professional qualification, are required to carry out a clinical placement and where they will undertake regulated activity.

DBS checks may be requested by a Higher Education Institution (HEI) as part of its admissions procedure, where a clinical training placement has been arranged and the applicant has been provisionally accepted. The NHS will usually seek written assurance that a Higher Education Institute has carried out an appropriate check at the correct level.

Staff new to the NHS

Where individuals are taking up appointment in the NHS for the first time, a conditional offer of employment may be offered before receiving the result of a DBS check however, it is important to emphasise that an employer will be committing an offence under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, if they knowingly permit a person to engage in regulated activity from which the person is barred.

The individual will also be committing a criminal offence where they engage in a regulated activity for which they are barred. It is therefore strongly recommended that individuals are not permitted to undertake any form of regulated activity, until the outcome of any barred list check is known.

Employers may, in exceptional circumstances, make a risk-based decision to appoint applicants while they are awaiting the outcomes of a DBS check for the purpose of undertaking induction

Existing staff changing jobs within the same organisation

A new DBS check is not normally required where an existing member of staff has previously had a DBS check and is moving internally to a new job where the roles and responsibilities do not require a different level of check.

The requirement for a new DBS check is triggered where:

  • the individual has never had a criminal record check before and is moving to a position that now requires them to have a check
  • the new position significantly changes the individual’s role, responsibilities, or level of contact with vulnerable groups i.e. involvement in a regulated activity which requires a different level of check, or a check against one or both barred lists.

Employers should make it clear to all staff that they have a contractual obligation to disclose any criminal convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings that are subsequently acquired during their employment. The disclosure should be made in confidence so that the employer can consider the effect of the offence against the position held.

Existing staff may be subject to disciplinary action and possible dismissal if they knowingly fail to disclose relevant information in relation to their criminal record or barred list status.

Full details of the criminal record checks undertaken by the NHS more broadly can be found here.

An example

“I have a conviction for violence (GBH from 8 years ago and a section 39 from 2010) and have recently applied for an IT Position in one of the NHS trusts. The post is primarily away from patients and hospitals but may occasionally require going in to sort out IT problems, and it involves a DBS check. I did declare the unspent conviction on the original application as there was a section asking this. I went for an interview, and nothing was mentioned regarding CRB/DBS checks or anything to do with my record. I received a phone call with an offer of employment, and was nervously waiting the dreaded DBS check in the paperwork. When it came, I completed this fully and truthfully, and ten days later all checks have come back to HR and I have been given the go-ahead to start. I am just waiting on a start date now. This is an NHS trust and I am not sure if other trusts will have different procedures, but it’s good news for me at least and maybe gives others a bit of hope”
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