30 August 2019

Shropshire’s two acute hospitals have scrapped staff charges for criminal background checks.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, started absorbing the costs as of 23 August.

A DBS check can cost up to £60, with many staff needing it renewed every three years. Many NHS organisations charge for the service.

Caroline McIntyre, Head of Workforce Resourcing and Assurance at SaTH, said: “Our newly appointed Staff Engagement Champions raised concerns about staff having to pay for their own checks, and having listened to their feedback the Trust will now pay the fees.

“We also hope that by removing these costs it will encourage more people to come and work at SaTH and build a long and successful career, which in turn will hopefully help our recruitment and retention rates.”

Julia Clarke, Director of Corporate Governance, heads up the Engagement Champion role at SaTH, which was introduced in June as a result of disappointing NHS Staff Survey feedback.

She said: “This is another example of us improving what it feels like to work at SaTH. Having an engaged workforce is critical to SaTH becoming a better organisation, and the news that we are going to stop charging people for DBS checks as a result of staff feedback is evidence of exactly that.

“We have just over 100 Engagement Champions across all areas of our organisation and in a short period of time they have helped make a really positive difference.

“Since their introduction we have created a staff retention group to look at ways of introducing flexible working shifts for nurses, we have improved our health and wellbeing offer with the introduction of stress awareness sessions for managers and resilience workshops, while they also played an instrumental part in the launch of our successful staff app.

“Our Engagement Champions have also worked closely with other teams in the organisation to help strengthen our Freedom to Speak Up team and introduce a new dementia-friendly names badges for staff.”