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NHS recruitment should not forget staff rights

5 July 2007

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The NHS Employers body says that Gordon Brown’s proposed review of NHS recruitment should balance patient safety against staff rights.

Gordon Brown announced yesterday his plans to review the NHS recruitment system after healthcare workers were arrested in connection with the London and Glasgow bomb attacks.

Deputy Director of NHS Employers Sian Thomas agreed that staff NHS should be rigorously checked but noted “employers have a duty to look after the rights of their staff.”

He added that NHS Employers already verifies staff identity, qualifications, registration and eligibility to work in the UK.

“It is good practice for an employer to carry out a Criminal Records Bureau check even if an applicant claims never to have lived in the UK and a police check in that person’s country of origin,” he said.

“We would expect an employer to ask a doctor who is being appointed from overseas to bring their own evidence of police clearance in their home country.”

Mr Thomas added that Criminal Records Bureau checks should also be repeated for junior doctors who move around a lot within the NHS.

But he pointed out that “while doing all we can to prevent unsuitable people taking up employment in the NHS” this should not include “discriminating against employees in any way on the grounds of their religion or beliefs.”

He concludes: “The UK has relied on overseas doctors for a number of years though the situation has changed as we have been training many more of our own doctors.”

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