Employment checks

Hospital staff
Pre-appointment checking seeks to verify that applicants meet the preconditions of employment. Checks are most effective if they form an integral part of your policies, practices and procedures for the recruitment, hiring, and where necessary, training of employees. The level and degree of checks carried out should be proportionate to the potential risk the post being applied for may pose.

NHS organisations should refer to the NHS Employment Check standards, which outline the type and level of checks employers must carry out before recruiting staff into NHS positions.

It is strongly recommended that only one department be responsible for carrying out pre-appointment screening to ensure consistency, generally this falls to HR as the lead on the recruitment and selection of employees. A dedicated manager or senior member of staff should be appointed to lead the process to ensure that checks and protocols are adhered to and information is shared appropriately. 

Other stages of the recruitment process also give opportunities to screen applicants. Interviews in particular, will help employers to assess the integrity and character of the applicant. Financial checks can also be used to provide assurance that there are no significant credit or debt problems that could place the individual in a vulnerable position.

All pre-appointment practices and processes need to be thorough, objective and unbiased; and must be fully compliant with all relevant employment legislation such as data protection, human rights, equality and diversity. 

Other useful links:

Advice for applicants and staff:

Please note that the NHS Employers organisation is unable to provide advice to individuals regarding their appointment in the NHS, or other personal employment issues.

Any queries in the first instance should be directed to the recruiting manager of the organisation concerned, or directed to the HR/personnel department. Where appropriate, additional advice may be sought from your Union representative or independent advice may be sought from the Citizen's Advice Bureau.


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NHS Employment Check Standards

The NHS Employment Check Standards, last updated in July 2013, outline the employment checks employers must carry out before appointing staff into NHS positions, across England.

Board room

Fit and proper person requirement for directors 

Find out information on the new fit and proper person requirements which will come into force for all NHS providers from November 2014.

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Language competency

All individuals who are involved in delivering NHS services require a level of linguistic skills to enable them to undertake their role effectively and safely.

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Certificate of Fitness for Honorary Practice

NHS Employers and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) have agreed a means by which consultants can carry out short-term, ad hoc or urgent activity in another organisation, without the need for an honorary contract of employment.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for doctors in training

It is normally mandatory to carry out a DBS check when appointing to a post which is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, and which includes all medical posts. This page sets out some possible exceptions for doctors in training.

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