Children’s operations cancelled over non-transferable CRB checks

A report by the Royal College of Surgeons, published today, reveals that children’s NHS operations are being cancelled because of the chaotic introduction of new Government safeguarding regulations. From the report:

Overzealous interpretation of the requirements by NHS Trusts and long delays in the system mean that NHS surgeons cannot move between Trusts quickly enough to deal with rare cases, of which there are many in children, and to cover absences. The RCS is calling for immediate roll out of passport-style arrangements that allow NHS staff who have already received an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check for one Trust to be recognised across the health service. Is the NHS a national service or not?

Since October 2009 the Vetting and Barring Scheme has introduced new standards for checking anyone who works with children, including surgeons. However, many Trusts are insisting that NHS surgeons who have already had an enhanced CRB check go through the same process whenever they work in a different Trust, even though the process can take several months. Some trainee surgeons have had more than 10 separate Criminal Records Bureau checks in two years. Read more here.

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary said,

This is a disgrace. The Government has implemented these new regulations without making sure that they will actually work on the ground.

When top surgeons have already been CRB checked, it’s madness to restrict them to one hospital when they are needed all around the country.

Protecting children must always be a top priority, but the situation has descended into complete farce with potentially dire consequences for patients and NHS staff.

Ministers have buried their heads in the sand despite mounting evidence of how badly flawed this system is.

We need a simple but effective system to protect our children. Once you’re CRB checked for one Trust, that should be enough to mean you can work in any hospital.

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