Changes to organisations, workforce roles and data collection can impact the reporting of data. This page documents significant events which may disrupt the availability, continuity or accuracy of data.
Data from many systems are used to report NHS workforce data. In November 2021, NES has completed the first phase of our new data warehouse, with historic and current NHSScotland employment data now warehoused and a new data model developed to support our publication reports.
The implementation of the warehouse will affect users of the NHSScotland Workforce Official Statistics publication in two main ways.
Changes to reports
In conjunction with the data warehouse project, we reviewed the outputs of the NHSScotland Workforce Official Statistics publication with a group of stakeholders and experts in user experience. After successfully testing with some of our end users, we will be publishing new reports in our next release. The largest change is the introduction of a new single NHSScotland workforce dashboard which will replace most of the previous dashboards and the Excel tables. This dashboard has improved navigation, filtering, table (including export functionality) and chart views of the workforce data.
Changes to data
As part of the development of the data warehouse we reviewed historic employment data and made numerous improvements to how this data is processed and reported. As a result of these improvements there will be some minor differences between the statistics published from the warehouse compared with previously published statistics. This means that this publication will contain a planned revision of employment data (which has impacts on vacancy rate and turnover measures), and sickness absence data.
The changes mentioned above will affect the NHSScotland Workforce Official Statistics released on 7 December 2021 (30 September 2020 census).
The above changes do not affect the Psychology Services Workforce and CAMHS Workforce publications.
We have completed a review into the Location of Service Delivery and Country of Qualification data in the NHSScotland Workforce publication to ensure it meets the Official Statistics standard. This means checking the Trustworthiness, Quality and Value as outlined in the Code of Practice for Statistics.
We have analysed the feedback provided by users and a short summary of the outcome of this review, and how it will affect Official Statistics reporting, is below. Full details, including proposed plans, are available.
Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.
Location of Service Delivery (LoSD)
In its current state, LoSD has reduced value to our users because of the quality of data. However, reporting grouped location data would be of value to many users if it can be robust. This is something that has also been recognised in other projects.
In order to understand and assess the requirements for reporting location groupings in more detail we propose running a workshop with key stakeholders. Whilst this assessment is undertaken, we will continue to publish LoSD with a note identifying that it is under review.
Country of Qualification (CoQ)
Responses from data providers highlighted that there are two places which CoQ can be sourced: (i) the professional body section in eESS and (ii) the GMC interface. The first is currently used to report the data. Respondents overwhelmingly do not use CoQ data from this source for reporting or analysis because there is no business need.
We will report CoQ data as it is sourced in the forthcoming Workforce Official Statistics publication (30 June census released 7 September). Thereafter, these data will not be released as part of the publication. We will continue to monitor information requests which could be answered using these data.
Throughout 2020 and 2021 there have been significant challenges in collecting data on the workforce as it adapted and grew in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of the reported data in the three publications are extracted from administrative systems such as e:EES, the HR system used by most of the NHS Boards, National Payroll systems, and the CAMHS and Psychology Workforce databases.
There are additional data we report that are collected using bespoke data collection systems, such as vacancies and nursing agency data which are collected using a manual survey completed by the NHS Boards. As this required some manual input from the Boards when they had many other pressures, some indicated that they would not be able to supply these data.
The full detail on data provided is available.
The specific impacts of COVID-19 on the workforce numbers are hard to estimate for a number of reasons. For example, some staff were employed on bank contracts whereas others were not added to local HR systems, which meant that they are not included in the workforce staff in post figures. For a further explanation of this please see the NHSScotland Workforce annual report released in June 2021.
Public Health Scotland was formed on 1 April 2020. This Special NHS Board was formed of staff and functions previously based in NHS Health Scotland and NHS National Services Scotland (NSS). Changes to staff numbers in these organisations can be seen in the data from the 30 June 2020 census date. This change affects the NHSScotland Workforce official statistics publication.
The Data Group have undertaken an assessment of the publication of granular age data in collaboration with Information Governance. In summary, we acknowledge that the age of workforce staff should be treated as a protected characteristic and is personal data in accordance with data protection law. For this reason, from the 2 June 2020 publication (31 March 2020 census date), we have removed the data available at a level below NHSScotland and staff group. A full assessment is available.
It is important that we continue to supply colleagues working in workforce planning, reporting and intelligence with the appropriate level of age information so that their work is undisrupted. Therefore, Management Information dashboards with full age data are available to authenticated individuals via TDI.
This has been communicated with our colleagues and stakeholders across NHS Boards and the Scottish Government. If you require to access the age data, please get in touch by emailing the Datagroup@nes.scot.nhs.uk.
Prior to September 2018, staff recorded as Locum Appointment in Training (LAT) and Locum Appointment in Service (LAS) were excluded from national workforce statistics. Following the quality assurance exercise which identified historical local recording issues with these staff, there was a broader discussion between ISD and NHS Boards on the merits of including these locum posts in national statistics.
Since NHS Boards view these locums as a key component of the medical workforce, it was agreed to change the reporting cohort so that such staff are included from 30 September 2018 onwards. This change impacts trend data for both the Doctor in Training grade (due to inclusion of staff on a LAT grade) and 'Other' grade (due to inclusion of staff on a LAS grade).
Agency locums are not included in these employment figures.
These changes affect the NHSScotland Workforce official statistics publication.
In July 2018, the Scottish Government announced a change in the employment model for Doctors in Training (DiT). Under the new arrangements, trainees will continue to occupy and move between training posts across all NHS Boards as part of their training, but for administrative purposes, 22 employers are being reduced to four, with trainees benefitting from having one employer for the duration of their training programme. This will apply initially to Junior Doctors, but will later include Dentists in Training. The change in employment model came into force on 1 August 2018.
Turas People was created to support implementation of the lead employer arrangements across Scotland by enabling information to be easily shared across systems and users.
Prior to the lead employer model, DiTs were recorded in SWISS by their board of placement. After implementation, they were recorded under their board of employment. To continue to report by board of placement, data from SWISS are linked to data from Turas People. The methodology of how we do this is available.
This change affects data released from December 2018 onwards in the NHSScotland Workforce official statistics publication (30 September 2018 census).
In August 2022, NES became the lead employer for Vocational Dental Practitioners (VDPs). This change resulted in VDP data coming from SWISS and Turas People. Previously these data were obtained from Turas training programme management only.
From 30 September 2022, the NHSScotland workforce official statistics dashboard reports VDPs for the first time. They are recorded under their employer board, NHS Education for Scotland, community dentistry specialty, and other grade.
In the Dentists table, VDPs are reported under their board of placement. This is identified using the education provider (dental practice) available in Turas People. There are multiple dental practices across Scotland that share the same name but have different locations which has prevented us from assigning them a postcode. As a result, there has been an increase in ‘Unknown’ SIMD.