Care UK admits taking on staff without background checks
A private company running a Birmingham health centre has employed staff without running background checks. Care UK took control of the £3 million Greet Health Centre in Springfield when it opened last month.
After a tip-off from a whistleblower, the firm admitted that two members of staff had been allowed to begin work despite not being cleared by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).
Local MP Steve McCabe has expressed shock and demanded answers from Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust about the contract.
Care UK said the staff who had not yet been cleared by the CRB would be supervised while carrying out clinical duties.
Mr McCabe (Lab, Hall Green) said: “The public should be able to expect that medical professionals and people with access to their records have been vetted and that hasn’t happened here.
“Those responsible for allowing this to happen should be brought to book and I will be keen to speak to the PCT to find out who was responsible for supervising the contract. There are supposed to be procedures to stop this from happening.”
The health centre opened on April 22 with GPs offering appointments between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week.
An urgent care unit has also been set up to treat burns and cuts which would otherwise mean a trip to casualty.
The centre employs about 20 members of staff, including doctors, nurses and administrators.
Care UK won a private contract from the Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust to operate the centre.
The company has previously come under fire from councils which employed it to operate healthcare services.
Hertfordshire County Council sacked Care UK in January after the Commission for Social Care Inclusion (CSCI) said patients had suffered “abuse through neglect” at the hands of Care UK in the east of the county. Most of the complaints were caused by missed home visits.
Southampton City Council last month announced it would no longer use Care UK for new patients to ensure the company could focus on providing existing customers with a quality service.
A joint statement from Heart of Birmingham PCT and Care UK said: “As soon as we recruited staff for this centre we started the CRB process, but there is a time lag as it takes time for checks to come through.
“Currently there are only two employees who have not had a recent CRB check either by us or their former employer. However they are under supervision when carrying out clinical duties involving patient contact.”