DBS COVID-19 Update

“It was announced by the Health and Social Care Secretary on 23 September 2022 that the temporary emergency registers for healthcare professionals will remain open until 2024.

“This applies to the emergency registers of four health professional regulators:

• Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

• Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

• General Medical Council (GMC)

• General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

“The registers were originally introduced as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and had been scheduled to close on 30 September 2022, but this time has now been extended.

“Aligned to the registers remaining open, it has also been agreed that the Fast-track and free-of-charge DBS checks, established at the start of the pandemic to support recruitment into the Health and Social Care sectors will continue until at least the end of March 2023 (subject to further review). This has been communicated to NHS Employers.

“As detailed in the Smart message of July 2022; it remains that usage of this service is expected to be the exception to the rule, and only where there is an explicit and demonstrable link to the legal eligibility criteria. For example, recruitment of eligible roles in support of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. 

“The DBS will be working with all registered bodies to ensure that checks submitted via the free service route are eligible.

“Employers should note that the speed of completing DBS checks will not be negatively impacted by using the normal application route. The temporary COVID-19 arrangements delivers fast-track barred list information but does not prioritise the completion of the full DBS check. 

If any delays to recruitment would impact on the delivery of patient services or care, then employers may wish to consider the Adult First service.

“Any further changes will be communicated as soon as they become available.

As part of these changes, the pop up message, which shows within the system will be updated when a COVID-19 application is selected. Currently this references that the temporary emergency registers for healthcare professionals has closed, further to the initial correspondence provided by the DBS in September.