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NHS staff not checked

22nd May 2007

Tens of thousands of NHS staff have not had criminal record checks carried out on them.

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It has emerged that among these are health staff working with children and vulnerable adults.

Research carried out by BBC Radio Five Live found that 68% of health trusts in the UK do not routinely run checks on staff who began work before the Criminal Records Bureau was set up, though new members of staff employed after the CRB checks began five years ago are automatically vetted.

About 90% of trusts responded to the survey, which was held after a listener who works as a child therapist, queried why she was not checked.

Out of the trusts contacted by Five Live, 166 responded. In England, 140 out of 151 possible responses were received, with 64% of trusts saying they had failed to routinely run checks. In Scotland, where all 14 boards responded, 93% said they did not vet all staff and in Wales, where 11 out of 13 trusts gave figures, 91% revealed they not run checks.

Some trusts say they are now taking action but others say the cost is too high to run checks on people employed before 2002, adding that there is no funding or guidance within the NHS to have this done.

It is estimated that as many as 50,000 staff have not been CRB checked, including GPs, nurses and health care assistants.

A new system of checks is due to be introduced by the end of 2008.

Children’s charity the NSPCC is now urging health authorities to prioritise checks on staff who work directly with children.

 

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