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Hundreds of paramedics working without valid DBS checks in Wales

Hundreds of Welsh paramedics have been working without valid DBS checks, it has been revealed.

The Welsh Ambulance Service has confirmed more than 250 paramedics in Wales did not have valid Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service [DBS] checks.

DBS checks to search for a job applicant’s criminal history to identify any convictions, both spent and unspent, cautions, warnings and reprimands.

But following Freedom of Information request from North Wales Live, the ambulance service revealed that 261 paramedics out of 947 in Wales did not have a valid check as of February this year.

Of those, 252 paramedics were frontline.

In North Wales, 87 paramedics out of 196 front line staff members did not have valid DBS checks.

The ambulance service said that all paramedics employed since December 2012, when the new DBS checks were introduced, were given a DBS check is required for the role.

But they said those hired before this date were not required to have checks, meaning many are now working without the requirement.

NSPCC Cymru said it was “vital” that such checks were made.

A spokesman said: “It’s vital that adults who either work with or could come into direct contact with children undergo robust vetting procedures.

“But DBS checks are only one part of building up a picture about a person’s risk.

“They should be combined with other measures such as seeking references and having a robust safeguarding culture so staff can speak out immediately if they think an employee is a danger.

“Organisations whose staff work with children must be vigilant and take every possible precaution to keep young people safe.”

The Welsh Ambulance Service said they were working to ensure that all staff were given the proper checks.

Claire Vaughan, director of workforce and organisational development, said: “Further to the publication of Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) special review of Swansea Bay University Health Board (formerly ABMU Health Board) in January 2019, one of the immediate actions identified by the Welsh Ambulance Service is to ensure that all staff, where required by their role, have received a DBS check.

“As a priority, all staff who require a DBS check and have not previously received a CRB/DBS check will be required to undertake a DBS check, particularly where the start of their employment with the trust predated the requirement for a CRB or DBS check.

“The trust is treating this as a matter of urgency and has commenced the process of arranging DBS checks for staff who have not previously received a CRB/DBS check.

“The trust is committed to making sure that staff and people in our care are safeguarded against exploitation and harm and will complete this process as soon as possible.”

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board did not provide figures, stating that the checks were “only valid on the day that it is produced” and added that they did not “mandate staff to sign up for the update service”.

They added that checks are carried out for “all staff who require one”.

North Wales Police said it was not a requirement for their officers to have DBS checks.

Daily Post

3 AUG 2019