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

DBS checks - doctors in training

13 / 10 / 2010 3.08pm

There are circumstances where it is reasonable and safe for this DBS checking requirement (formerly known as CRB checks) to be risk assessed. This page provides advice on dealing with DBS checks for doctors in training.


The NHS Employment Checks standards were developed by NHS Employers in partnership with the Department of Health and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). The standards include checks that are required by law and those that are Department of Health policy.

The standards apply to permanent staff, staff on fixed-term or temporary contracts, volunteers, students, trainees, contractors and temporary staff supplied by an agency. Trusts appointing agency staff, contractor or other external bodies to provide NHS services will need to ensure that their providers are also in compliance with these standards.

NHS providers should show evidence of their compliance with these standards as part of the Care Quality Commission's annual regulatory framework. The Employment Check Standards are also embedded in the Government Procurement Services (GPS) National Agency Framework Agreement and annual audit checks of agencies, to assure compliance with the standards is met in relation to contracted and sub-contracted staff. 

Failure to comply could potentially put the safety, and even the lives, of patients, staff and public at risk.

Criminal record and barring check standard

The following is an extract from the NHS Employment Check Standard on Criminal record and barring checks, last updated and published April 2016:

Doctors in training

"Doctors on educationally-approved rotational training are regarded as being in continuous employment during the full term of their training and are therefore required to have a DBS check, as a minimum, once every three years rather than each time they change rotation.

Employers must seek written assurances from the host/previous employer that appropriate clearances have been obtained within the last three years. Trusts may undertake DBS checks more frequently, but any additional checks must be proportionate to risk. For example, where assurances cannot be obtained or where you are made aware of criminal activity.

Where it is highly likely that the individual will be working in regulated activity with both children and adults at an early stage in their training programme, it is strongly recommended that the initial DBS check includes checks are made against both barred lists."

Employers and recruiting managers are advised to refer to the NHS Employment Check Standards section of this website for changes to employment checking requirements.

Further information about the application of the employment checking requirements and DBS checks can be found on the tools and resources page.

Evidence of a check having been carried out may be obtained from the doctor's own copy of a disclosure, from the previous employer or host organisation's ESR record, or from other local records. To aid subsequent verification of a DBS check having been obtained, details of the disclosure date and reference number should always be recorded on ESR for the benefit of informing future employers conducting a risk assessment. 


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