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Health care and adult safeguarding: an audit informing the relationship of the UK vetting and barring scheme with the NHS

Lynne Phair (Based at Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King's College London, London, UK)
Jill Manthorpe (Director of the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King's College London, London, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 10 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to report on an audit undertaken in 2010 to support implementation of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) processes by National Health Service (NHS) Trusts. The ISA was set up under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (SVGA) 2006. Concern has been expressed that some NHS employers are not familiar with their new obligations to consider making referrals to the ISA.

Design/methodology/approach

This audit was designed to provide an estimate of possible NHS referrals to the enhanced vetting and barring scheme run by the ISA in England and Wales; and to explore two NHS Trusts' potential decision‐making and referrals to the ISA following disciplinary action or adverse events. The two NHS Trusts that participated engaged in a detailed review of incidents and their relationship to harm as defined in the SVGA 2006.

Findings

The simple number of how many incidents have been reported to the ISA by an NHS Trust will not equate to the same number of cases of individual patients being harmed or the number of events that have placed them at risk of harm. There are considerable differences in how reporting an incident is viewed, managed and dealt with among NHS Trusts. Following this audit, the best estimate of the number of potential NHS referrals from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to the ISA over one year is estimated to be about 712.

Research limitations/implications

This is a small audit of self‐selecting Trusts. The information is not examined in detail and the reasons for Trust decisions about disciplinary outcomes are not accessed or scrutinised; the indicative figures of numbers of referrals to the NHS are a simple indication of the levels of referrals that might be expected.

Practical implications

The audit results suggest a need for further work on what is most helpful in making the differential decisions about the type of harm that has occurred from an incident. NHS Trusts may need to assure themselves that their duties under the SVGA are fully understood and implemented.

Originality/value

The strength of the audit, and, therefore, this paper, is that a sample of Trusts have supplied a level of detail about their staff and Human Resource matters that is not generally available, as access to the DATIX system is not generally sought or permissions given.

Keywords

Citation

Phair, L. and Manthorpe, J. (2011), "Health care and adult safeguarding: an audit informing the relationship of the UK vetting and barring scheme with the NHS", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 251-258. https://doi.org/10.1108/14668201111178166

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited