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23rd December 2013

GP practices are not always doing the necessary employment checks – CQC

The right choiceIn order to demonstrate compliance with the performance standard of CQC, NHS funded providers should be able to show that they comply with the’ NHS Employment Checks Standards’.

Check the identity

NHS providers are required to verify the identity of new employees before employing them. Then employees must have the legal right to work in the UK. It is important to check all new employees. If you are selective about checking in some cases and not in others then you risk (valid) claims of racial discrimination. Guidance on checking the right to work in the UK is provided in the Human Resources section of the QCS Useful Documents.

Verify credentials

There need to be checks on professional registration and qualifications for professional staff – check with the relevant professional body (for example  the Nursing and Midwifery Council or the General Medical Council) and ask to see original qualification certificates.

Confirm CV claims

Employment history has to be verified; discuss any gaps in the CV at interview and ensure the candidate provides appropriate assurance, then make sure references are followed up.

Check for criminal records

Healthcare workers, as they are in contact with vulnerable people, need to be vetted for past criminal behaviour. The processes of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) should be familiar to all GP Practices. Different levels of check are required for different types of staff. For example, a practice manager will require an enhanced DBS check, whilst reception staff won’t. You can get further details here. 

Review any criminal past

With the exception of certain serious crimes, a criminal record should not automatically be a bar to employment in the healthcare sector. Roughly one person in six has a criminal record – and the overwhelming majority are eventually integrated into society. Responsible employers will do a risk-assessment comparing the relevance of the offence with the risk that implies to patients. Key questions to ask are listed here.

Use conditional offers to enable health checks

Pre-employment health checks are constrained by law. You must not ask health related questions prior to offering an applicant a job. There are a few exceptions, the classic example is factories handling nuts can ask applicants whether they have a nut allergy. But you can make an offer that is conditional on health checks, and you can ask health related questions at that point.

These points are intended as general guidance. In cases of doubt contact QCS or Employer Solutions.

Malcolm Martin and Fiona Whiting of Employer Solutions - QCS Expert Human Resources Contributors

Topics: Human Resources

Sarah Riley

Senior Customer Care Executive

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