Securing a job in the health care sector requires a great deal of dedication and training; it is also likely to entail a great deal of scrutiny from any potential employer. Understandably, health providers need to ensure that they hire the right people to take up work in such a position of trust. The rise and publicity of internet based grooming activities and groups in recent years has highlighted how vulnerable people can be, and how expert predators can be when targeting individuals, in whatever setting.
Although the vast majority of applicants for healthcare work are honest, committed people, the fact is that a small proportion are not; in the age of international travel and the globalized workplace, there is a need for a reliable background checking system. Certainly, job applicants in this field should expect to under go the highest levels of scrutiny.
High Demand for Health Professionals
The covid 19 pandemic has highlighted the need for healthcare professionals around the world. In fact, this has proven to be true in developed nations with well established health services, which has come as something of a shock to some of their governments. Even before the pandemic hit, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report that, globally, there is likely to be a shortage of such workers of almost 13 million positions by 2035. This is due to factors such as an ageing population and the relatively low level of wages in the healthcare sector.
Some of the countries where these factors are most evident are also among the world’s richest. It is thought likely, therefore, that the laws of supply and demand will push wages up in these wealthy countries, in order to address their healthcare shortfall. Higher wages in these countries will inevitably attract trained staff from all over the world. All of this is sure to be noticed by people and groups who prey on vulnerable people. Against this background, any responsible employer will want to be sure that the people they take on have been properly vetted.
Healthcare Worker Background Checks
With a likely high degree of movement to find healthcare jobs, applicants and employers are sure to be faced with differing legal requirements regarding vetting procedures. Most developed nations would prefer to have workers in sensitive jobs who had been subject to a criminal record check in their own country; these checks are more reliable and easier to confirm. However, if a host country has to rely on a high number of incoming workers, they will be forced to rely on the standards applied by workers’ own nations. This being the case, a country with a trustworthy criminal record checking system will find it easier for their citizens to find healthcare work elsewhere.
As the UK has long relied on healthcare staff from other countries, both private and public health employers look for applicants from such provider nations. Any applicant for a health sector job will need to have a clear Enhanced CRB check; these disclose any and all past convictions, unless those are protected under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA). As a minimum, then, a “foreign” worker will have to satisfy these same criteria. Applicants from countries which implement a similar system to the UK’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) will, therefore, find it easier to qualify for a work permit.
Brexit and Healthcare Employment
Since the UK finally left the EU in January 2020, finding work in the country has become much harder for many people. This includes the thousands of EU citizens who had been working in the NHS and other providers, who have since had to leave the country. Should any of those professionals want to work in the UK again, they will have to re-apply as foreign nationals. This will also mean satisfying the criminal record checking system, so they will need a DBS renewal. As work quotas are the subject of political pressure, most EU nationals are looking for work elsewhere.
As the covid pandemic showed, however, pressure on the UK’s NHS are at an all time high. This comes at a time when the country’s population is older than ever on average, and certain to get older. Against this background, highly respected publication the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has predicted that strict rules on recruitment from the EU as a result of Brexit will have to be relaxed for health workers. If this turns out to be true, the DBS will return to its previous role of vetting some of British society’s most vital workers.
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