Some practice managers may have employed staff despite the fact they have criminal records, figures show.
The Home Office checked 12,715 people with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) in 2006, and found police had information on 1,411 individuals.
This data can relate to "minor" information, such as receiving an official reprimand or caution, and can also extend to a criminal conviction or ban on working with children.
But only 56 people were refused jobs as a result of the information being disclosed to their employer, leaving the remaining 1,355 free to take up their posts.
The most common reasons for rejecting applicants was because they held a criminal conviction, followed by information held by local police.
The figures have been collected by Mori and include NHS, independent and voluntary sector posts.
A CRB spokesman said the new system is far more comprehensive than the previous method of police checks.
He added: "These records include spent convictions which can be from a long time ago. Therefore it is up to employers to make a decision about whether they are relevant to the job being applied for."
But shadow health minister Stephen O'Brien said: "Nothing must prejudice the safety of children and vulnerable people so these checks are there for a purpose."
Criminal Records Bureau
Copyright © PA Business 2007
Would you reject a potential employee outright if they had a criminal record? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"No, each case has to be reviewed on an individual basis. Candidates are protected under the ROA and by the CRB's Code of Practice" – Caroline Clark, Shropshire