Identification and document scanning system

Hospital and emergency staff

24 / 07 / 2012

King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

King's College Hospital is based in the community of Camberwell and serves the local population of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. The trust is recognised internationally for their work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac, blood cancers and foetal medicine.

What they did and why

The trust had concern over the increased level of identification fraud and felt it unreasonable to bear the burden of identifying fraudulent documentation.

The trust partnered with Trust ID, an identification and document scanning company. Using ‘Veriscan’, a document scanner similar to those used at airports, recruitment administrators are now able to confirm authentic documents within a few seconds to a much higher level of sophistication than is possible by sight alone. The scanner uses a variety of light sources and other checks to verify that the document is authentic or highlights potential problems that may indicate otherwise.

The aim of the introduction of document scanning is to protect the communities the trust serves, by raising the standards of identification checks. It also makes it easier and quicker for the recruitment administrators to conduct checks and identify potentially fraudulent documentation. 

How they did it

The project started in 2010 having identified that there were increasing difficulties in accurately determining the authenticity of key documents, such as passports, even with Home Office guidance. Working jointly, the human resources department and the local counter fraud team explored technological solutions that were commonly used by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and other agencies.

The trust contracted Trust ID as their preferred partner. They installed two document scanners for the quick reading of key documentation (passports, visas and driving licences); together with specialist software that authenticates these documents. They also provided training and continue to provide the HR team with on-going technical advice and investigative support when a potential fraudulent document is identified.

The technology soon became a regular part of the HR team’s identity and right to work checks. If a problem with the documentation is detected, the scanning system automatically stores a copy of the documentation, so the individual can be given their originals back. Nothing is said to the individual until a full investigation has taken place, to avoid causing unnecessary worry/embarrassment but also to avoid disturbing a potential criminal investigation.

The trust has been using the system since 2010, and it has proven a welcome addition to the identity checking process with the recruitment administrators, counter-fraud team, the UKBA, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA).

Results and next steps

The system has improved the level of identification checks that the trust is able to perform and this, they believe, plays a critical role in ensuring patient safety. The system has streamlined the verification of identity process and reduced the administrative time of conducting such checks.

The use of this technology recently led to the arrest and conviction of an individual who worked as a nurse in another NHS organisation and attempted to gain employment at Kings College Hospital.

Using the technology enables the HR team to demonstrate their compliance with the NHS Employment Check Standards for right to work and identity checks to a higher degree, which has given both the CQC and the UKBA reassurance of their recruitment practices.

The trust would like their contractors to raise their standards of identity checks to the same level and so are in the process of negotiating to achieve this.

Tips for other trusts

  • By publicising the use of this technology the trust believes it acts to deter individuals who may seek employment by using a false identity.
  • They are using the scanner to conduct annual work permit/visa checks.
  • A strong relationship between HR and the counter fraud team is essential to investigate quickly without the individual knowing of a potential problem.
  • The project was seen as a critical anti-fraud measure and therefore funded by the finance department.
  • Implementing such a system may contribute to reducing NHSLA litigation premiums.


Peter Absalom
Associate Director: Workforce Resourcing


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