Data for all staff are sourced from the Scottish Workforce Information Standard System (SWISS). Workforce information was first captured through SWISS in 2007 for the data as at 30th September 2007. SWISS holds live individual level information for all staff and includes data items on the employee, their current post(s), absences and earnings. It is fed directly from NHS Boards' local payroll and HR systems.
The original source of absence data is Scottish Standard Time System.
NES extracts employment data on the second Tuesday of the month for staff in post on the last day of the previous month. For example, an extract of all staff at 31 March 2021 was taken on 13 April 2021. The lag between census date and extraction date is to allow time for the source systems to be updated.
Additional paybill data are extracted annually from SWISS. These extracts contain details of staff earnings paid by NHS organisations, and are taken at the end of each financial year. The extract takes monthly and weekly records for each employee and contains employee details, employment details, and employment earning details. These data, unlike the staff in post extract, include details of bank contract staff.
What data are published?
Staff in post data are reported for 31 March, 30 June, 30 September, and 31 December census as part of the NHSScotland Workforce Official Statistics publication. The data show the number of staff employed by NHSScotland by location (NHS Board), occupation (job family, sub job family / medical specialty, AfC band / medical grade, contract type) and demographic (sex, age group, median age) indicators. These terms are defined in the glossary.
In addition to these data, SWISS data are used to report the following
The following lists the conditions for records in the SWISS data to be included in the NHSScotland Workforce publication.
A person must be in an active post and not working on a Bank contract type:
Furthermore, not all staff recorded on local HR and payroll systems are directly employed by NHSScotland; we therefore run a series of exclusions in agreement with NHS Boards. These exclusions are:
Medical doctors in training data are sourced from NES' Turas People system which allows accurate reporting of trainee board of placement and specialty. Turas People is an application hosted on the Turas platform that supports implementation of the lead employer model which came into force on 1 August 2018. For reporting purposes we link data from SWISS and Turas People to maximise the value of data held in each system. This linking process affects reporting from the 30 September 2018 census date.
A number of steps are in place to ensure that these data are reported accurately.
The above quality assurance processes result in trustworthy information being released as part of the NHSScotland Workforce publication and reduce the likelihood of any issues arising after publication.
Sometimes there may be occasions where these data cannot be verified before they are extracted, for example due to turnover or absences of staff updating the systems. In these occasions, NES will work with providers to highlight any important quality assurance or intelligence to our end users.
Detailed information on occupations are not always available in the source data. This has led to the creation of a number manual surveys to identify staff roles in more detail (for example the managed pharmacy workforce survey).
There will likely be small discrepancies in the numbers reported locally (by NHS Boards) and nationally (by NES). This may be because the data are extracted from the live system at different times, or that the methods of extraction and processing are not the same (for example, inclusion of bank staff).
This system allows NES to report the number of staff employed in NHSScotland. This may be different from the number of staff actually working at any given time (for example due to rostering arrangements or absences).