The NHS has a significant role to play in combatting modern slavery and supporting victims. But to do this we need to ensure that staff understand that modern slavery exists, and we need to ensure that staff are confident and able to both recognise the signs and indicators of both victim and perpetrators and know what to do.

From 1 November 2015, specified public authorities have a duty to notify the Secretary of State of any individual identified in England and Wales as a suspected victim of slavery or human trafficking, under Section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.   

What is Modern Slavery?

Slavery is a violation of a person’s human rights. It can take the form of human trafficking, forced labour, and bonded labour, forced or servile marriage, descent-based slavery and domestic slavery. A person is considered to be in modern slavery if they are;

  • Forced to work through mental or physical threat
  • Owned or controlled by an “employer”, usually through mental or physical abuse
  • De-humanised, treated as a commodity or sold or bought as “property”
  • Physically constrained or has restrictions placed in their freedom of movement

Our Organisation

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust provides emergency and non-emergency services to the residents of East Surrey, north-east West Sussex, and South Croydon, including the major towns of Crawley, Horsham, Reigate and Redhill. At East Surrey Hospital, Redhill we have 697 beds and provide acute and complex services. In addition, we provide a range of outpatient, diagnostic and less complex planned services at The Earlswood Centre, Caterham Dene Hospital and Oxted Health Centre in Surrey and at Crawley and Horsham Hospitals in West Sussex.

Our Commitment to Prevent Slavery and Human Trafficking

The Trust Board and all employees are committed to ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in any part of our business activity and in so far as is possible to holding our suppliers to account to do likewise.

Our Approach

Our overall approach will be governed by compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements and the maintenance and development of best practice in the fields of contracting and employment and we will:

  • Work with local Integrated Care Systems when reviewing the commissioning cycle for opportunities to ensure a robust approach.
  • Review our approach and publish an annual statement outlining the steps we are taking to tackle modern slavery.
  • Continue to ensure that our recruitment processes are highly mature, requiring practices that adhere to safe recruitment principles. This includes strict requirements in respect of identity checks, work permits and criminal records. These practices will extend to any employment agencies used by the Trust.
  • Our pay structure is derived from national collective agreements and is based on equal pay principles with rates of pay that are nationally determined. The Finance and Workforce Committee (SWC) will hold the organisation to account in adhering to these standards and practices.
  • Ensure our procurement processes provide assurance that organisations are taking relevant steps to adhere to the standards.
  • Make declarations and contractual provisions with existing healthcare commissioners to ensure they understand the Trust’s approach to the Act.
  • In the case of children and young people at risk, adherence to the local authority Safeguarding Children Partnership  multi-agency policies and procedures.
  • In the case of adults at risk, adherence to the local authority Safeguarding Board multi agency policies and procedures
  • All staff can access support in this regard by contacting the Named Safeguarding professionals

The Trust’s Whistleblowing Policy, which applies to all employees, consultants, contractors and agency staff who work for the Trust is accessible via the Trust’s intranet site. Alternatively concerns can be raised with the Trust’s Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.

This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes our slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending March 2024.