NHS Research Passports

The NHS Research Passport system establishes a common system of pre-engagement checks for University employees undertaking research in the NHS. The checks conform to the standards required of all NHS bodies, and are therefore transferable across NHS Trusts.

The passports last for five years, and consist of a number of academic, research, health, employment, qualification and personal checks to ensure that the researchers employed on Research Contracts are professionally and personally checked for the level of work which they will undertake within the NHS.

Note to students

Students who need to apply for a research passport do not need to contact HR for pre engagement checks. These can usually be performed within their host department who will arrange for DBS checks as necessary. Their Head of Department or University Registry Services will hold the records to enable countersignantory approval. Students can contact the University Occupational Health Service (see point 8 below) for the purpose of health screening for research passports if required.

The responsibility for obtaining an NHS Research Passport rests with the individual. However, the HR department at the University must also counter-sign a section of the passport application to certify that the employment aspects of the pre-engagement checks have been carried out. To complete an NHS Research Passport form and submit it to the relevant NHS Trust the following steps are required:

  1. Access the National Institute for Health Research for full details of the NHS Research Passport system.
  2. Finalise the terms of your research contract with the NHS Trust, before obtaining the Research Passport. This avoids undue effort and expense in completing the NHS Research Passport if the Research Contract is not approved.
  3. Download the Research Passport form [doc]
  4. Complete sections 1 to 4 of the Research Passport form
  5. Section 5 requires a number of pre-engagement checks to be validated by a named HR Manager (HR Services Manager, Matt Ramm, email: matthew.ramm@york.ac.uk). These checks relate to:
    1. Potential Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Vetting and Barring Scheme checks, if required (see point 6 below).
    2. Potential Occupational Health screening certification if required (see point 8 below).
    3. Employment screening, including: two verified references, verification of permission to work in the UK, exploration of gaps in employment, ID with photograph.
    4. Evidence of professional registration and qualifications.
  6. The requirements for Disclosure and Barring Service, Vetting and Barring Scheme and Health Screening checks vary according to the level of patient and staff contact required by the research. In instances where the research does not involve personal contact such checks are not required. Details of the level of certification in this area are contained in the document Instructions for completing the Research passport Form [pdf].
  7. Where a DBS check is required this should be carried out through the normal channels within the researcher’s Department. Researchers should commence obtaining a DBS check as soon as possible, as they may take a number of weeks to be processed.
  8. Occupational Health screening checks will be required where the researcher has direct contact with patients. As there is no standard set of health screening checks defined it is important for the researcher to establish with the NHS Trust the nature of the health screening checks required relevant to the area of research and the nature of patient involvement.
    To request Occupational Health Clearance for a Research passport please contact Gary Malcolm, Occupational Health Advisor on gm549@york.ac.uk. You will be sent a research passport health questionnaire and evidence of clearance document. Please read the instructions and complete the health questionnaire, and sign and date the evidence of clearance document. Post them internally marked 'confidential', to Occupational Health, Heslington Hall, University of York, YO10 5DD along with copies of any vaccination documentary evidence.
  9. The DBS certificate, Occupational Health screening certificate (both where relevant) and NHS Research Passport form should be submitted to HR. HR will certify that they have evidence of health screening certification, and have copies of documents for all other pre-engagement checks. It may be that you will be required to attend an interview to discuss aspects of pre-engagement certification, such as gaps in your employment record.
  10. When section 5 of the Passport form has been completed and signed by the HR Services Manager, the form will be returned to the originator to be completed, signed and forwarded to the relevant NHS Trust research co-ordinator, together with originals of the documents required. The NHS Trust will counter-sign the form and return document originals, confirming that the Research Passport is valid.

Please contact HR Services on extension 4835 if you have any queries about the Research Passport application process.

Document Control

NHS Research Passports
Date Last Reviewed:
May 2010
Procedure Owner:
Human Resources