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General Practice and Primary Care workforce statistics

17 November 2023

The NES Data group will publish data on the General Practice and Primary Care workforce on 12 December 2023. There will be three publications published on this day, the

  • General Practice Workforce Survey,

Provides information on estimated whole time equivalent (WTE) of GPs in Scotland up to 2023, broken down by age and sex, GP designation and NHS Board. It also provides estimates of headcount and WTE for nurses at general practices in Scotland.

  • Primary Care Out-of-Hours Workforce Survey

Presents results from the 2023 Primary Care Out of Hours Workforce Survey. The survey is an important source of information to support workforce planning for Out of Hours services.

  • GP workforce headcount

Provides information on the General Practitioner (GP) workforce contracted to work in Scottish practices in the years 2012 to 2023. 

These publications were previously published by Public Health Scotland.


National Treatment Centre workforce statistics

5 September 2023

The National Treatment Centre (NTC) programme is a key component of the National Recovery Plan, and the workforce is critical to the delivery of service. We are currently working with data providers and users, and our colleagues in Statistical Governance to develop these workforce statistics as Official Statistics. NES Data Group are pleased to announce that these statistics will be released within the NHS Scotland workforce publication as Experimental Statistics - statistics in development in December 2023.

Turnover metrics - on hold

19 May 2023

The decision has been made to put the proposed changes to the NHS Scotland Workforce dashboard, as outlined below, on hold for the time being. This is to allow for an internal review of terminology and metric selection.

April 2023

Turnover rate has previously been defined in the NHS Scotland Workforce Dashboard as (Total number of leavers over period / Total number employed at start of period) x 100. Whilst our definitions for joiners and leavers will remain unchanged, we will be changing our definition for turnover rate to (Total number of leavers over period / Average number employed over period) x 100, as this is in keeping with the definition which is listed in other sources [12, 3]. There can be variation in how this definition is interpreted, especially within healthcare [45]. For clarity, we define leavers to be individuals who were employed within NHS Scotland in a specific job role and Health Board at time point n and were not employed in that same job role and Health Board at timepoint n+1.

Separately, we will be including "true" leaver and joiner metrics which exclude individuals who move between job family, sub job family / specialty, Agenda for Change Band / Grade, whole-time / part-time, or contract type. In the case of the true leaver definition, this differs from our definition of leaver in that, for example, those changing job family or Agenda for Change Band but retain employment within the same Health Board will be counted as leavers but not as true leavers.  

Using the new definition for turnover rate, together with our definition for true leavers, we will also be adding an additional metric to the publication - the true turnover rate. The true leaver, true joiner and true turnover rate metrics will be available in the new “True turnover” report in the dashboard.

The above changes will come into effect as of June 2023, and the ten years of historical turnover data available in the Turnover page of the dashboard will be updated to ensure consistency and allow comparison. Users should therefore expect slight changes to the historic turnover rate values. The largest change to be noted when drawing comparisons to the previous definition for turnover rate (as used in the March 2023 publication for data up to and including December 2022) is observed for the turnover rate for headcount as of 31 March 2021 which has gone from 5.7% to 5.5%.

Official workforce statistics

The NHS is Scotland's biggest employer and its workforce has a significant role to play in the delivery of quality services that meet the needs of patients, their families and the general public in a modern health service.

Since December 2019 NHS Education for Scotland have produced three Official Statistics publications:

  • NHSScotland Workforce for NHSScotland,
  • Psychology Services Workforce in NHSScotland, and
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Workforce in NHSScotland

From December 2023 NHS Education for Scotland will produce three publications on the General Practice and Primary Care Workforce

  • General Practice Workforce Survey (Official Statistics in Development),
  • Primary Care Out-of-Hours Workforce Survey (Official Statistics in Development) and 
  • GP workforce and practice list sizes (Official Statistics)

About our data and reports has information on the data and sources, methodologies, publication timetable, and how we apply the Code of Practice for Statistics maintained by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA).

Workforce publications prior to 3 December 2019 can be accessed via the Public Health Scotland (previously ISD Scotland) Workforce publication page.