Locums: Employment Agencies

Department of Health written question – answered on 25th November 2015.

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Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Conservative, North East Hertfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what checks locum agencies are required to make when they sub-contract the provision of staff to other locum agencies for temporary workers in the NHS or social services; what steps are taken to ensure proper checks are made on the quality and character of such staff; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Conservative, North East Hertfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make an assessment of the quality and rigour of checks made by locum agencies of the character and credentials of staff to be provided to the NHS or social services; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Ben Gummer Ben Gummer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Providers of regulated health and social care services must be registered with the Care Quality Commission and comply with certain fundamental standards, including those relating to the employment of fit and proper persons.

In the National Health Service, employing organisations have the overarching responsibility for auditing and monitoring compliance of third party suppliers of temporary workers (including locum doctors) to ensure that they operate to the same level of standards in relation to undertaking pre-appointment checks as outlined by the NHS Employment Check Standards. Under the framework agreements, all external staffing providers (including contractors and agencies) are required to provide assurances that they have robust recruitment processes in place in line with the NHS Employment Check Standards.

Care workers also routinely use agencies to secure employment or apply to care homes and care providers directly. Employers in the care sector have a duty of care to patients and their families to take all appropriate action to ensure employees have the appropriate credentials to enable them to work in the sector. In cases of direct payment, where the council pays the care-recipient directly to employ a carer, this responsibility falls to the care recipient.

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