AN AGENCY nurse was not allowed to work for six weeks due to having to wait for a criminal record check.

Beth Hickey from Ledbury has worked as an agency nurse at Hereford County Hospital for around three or four years.

But due to a change of email address, her Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (which is needed to work at the hospital) had lapsed.

The 58-year-old was then unable to work for six weeks which meant she had no income.

As the main breadwinner in her family, this led to debts of £2,500 building up.

Mrs Hickey said: "Normally I do the DBS check through a service that automatically do it on my behalf. I had changed my email address so they weren't able to contact me.

"Unknown to me it lapsed. I had to start all over again."

She said she felt upset and frustrated at the lengthy wait to be able to work.

She said: "Is this what we are now to expect as normal procedure for trying to work? The DBS certificate is obsolete but we still have to endure this ridiculous procedure.

"People want and need to work and shouldn’t have to find themselves in this situation in 2018."

She said she felt frustrated that the DBS did not phone her to say her check was due to expire. She also cannot understand why it takes such a long time to process.

Mrs Hickey said: "I am not the only one. Other people have been waiting equally as long.

"I didn't know if people were aware that this DBS is taking such a long time coming through."

Mrs Hickey said she also had to wait 28 days before she could claim for a "hardship escalation" which means the check would be prioritised.

After six weeks she finally received the certificate and was able to return to work.

A spokesman for the Disclosure and Barring Service said: “While we cannot comment on specific cases, what we can say is that safeguarding vulnerable groups in society is at the heart of what we do and our first priority must be the protection of children and vulnerable adults.

"All our activities are done with that priority in mind. This includes the very sensitive searching and matching against police records and this process can take time to complete.

"However, we are also mindful of the need to ensure that this is done as quickly as possible. We currently produce more than 85 per cent of all Enhanced and Standard level checks within 21days and more than 96 per cent in 42 days. Some checks can take longer than this for varied reasons that are often outside of the DBS’s direct control.”