NES collects employment information on the NHS pharmacy workforce, sometimes referred to as the Managed Sector to differentiate it from other sectors such as community pharmacy.
The managed sector pharmacy workforce are directly employed by NHSScotland and include staff who work within pharmacy services at a hospital, NHS Board, and the Pharmaceutical Special Service. The survey collects aggregated information from NHS Boards on employment, vacancies, locums, posts currently at risk, and posts disestablished.
Pharmacy leads at each NHS Board are asked to complete the excel-based survey for the workforce position at 31 September each year.
What data are published
After receiving these data, NES processes and applies quality assurance checks before reporting these data in a dashboard in the December release of the NHSScotland Workforce official statistics publication. The key information released in this publication are:
The Glossary provides definitions.
Data are available annually at 30 September census from 2011.
The managed sector survey collects information on all permanent staff who are directly employed by NHSScotland for the following disciplines:
Pharmacy porters are not included even if they are funded through the pharmacy budget.
Staff on secondments are reported under their NHS Board of employment, rather than board of placement.
Employment data are collected by division: NHS Acute Hospital, NHS Mental Health and Community Hospitals, NHS Board Central Staff, and NHS Board Primary Care Staff. Territorial boards record the level of staffing for each service within their Board, whereas staff at Special Health Boards are recorded under central staff service.
The above conditions apply to the data captured for vacant posts, locums, posts currently at risk and posts disestablished over the last year.
For vacancies, additional conditions are applied:
Employment information for the managed pharmacy workforce are also available in SWISS. They are reported quarterly in the NHSScotland Workforce official statistics publication under the Pharmacy sub job family (Other Therapeutic Services staff group). However, detail of the discipline (e.g pharmacist, pharmacy support worker etc) is only available in the annual survey, not SWISS.
In 2019 the NHSScotland Pharmaceutical Specials Service launched at Ninewells Hospital in NHS Tayside. The service supports NHSScotland by manufacturing medicines when available licensed medicines do not meet the specific needs of patients. It amalgamated the previous NHSScotland manufacturing units based at Ninewells and the Western Infirmary Glasgow. The service also provides support to Research & Development in the NHS and Scottish Universities by providing medicines for use in clinical trials.
In the managed sector survey, these staff are recorded under the Specials service and Central sector of practice from 31 September 2019. They are not included in NHS Tayside or North region figures, but are included in NHSScotland total. In SWISS, because the staff in the Specials service are paid by NHS Tayside, they are recorded in NHS Tayside figures.
Pharmacists and Pharmacy technicians are registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council.
A number of steps are in place to ensure that these data are reported accurately.
The above quality assurance processes results in accurate information being released as part of the NHSScotland Workforce official statistics publication. Therefore, it is unlikely that any significant issues with the data quality would arise after publication. If we are made of any major data inaccuracies we will update any outputs under a revision.
This collection allows NES to report the number of staff employed at a census date. This will be different from the number of staff working at any given time (for example, due to rostering or absences).
It is not possible to use the main administrative system of employment data (SWISS) since the discipline (e.g pharmacist, pharmacy support worker etc) is not detailed. The use of administrative data would help reduce the burden on survey respondents by supplementing or replacing survey items, and is something that NES is investigating.
It is not possible to track the progression of staff or undertake turnover analysis using the survey since aggregated data are collected.