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Revised publication timetable for the NHSScotland Workforce Official Statistics

14 May 2024

As you may be aware, from the first of April 2024 NHS Agenda for Change staff saw a reduction in their working week from 37.5 hours to 37 hours. The process to update the contracted and conditioned hours for this change in Scottish Workforce Information Standard System (SWISS) was carried out prior to the NES Data Group taking the March extract. After taking the extract, we became aware that the update had not worked as expected and as a result, the Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) calculations were incorrect. After investigating the issue alongside Atos and NSS, it was discovered the error was due to the full employee records not feeding through to SWISS from the Workforce Intelligence Repository (WIR) database. Atos are currently working to implement a fix.

Please note, no other data has been impacted. Therefore, whilst we carry out necessary investigation and work to calculate the WTE for the March census, we will be doing a phased release for the publication this quarter with data as at 31 March 2024. We expect this data to be released in two phases.

Phase One

This will be released on Tuesday 4 June 2024 as scheduled and will contain the following:

  • NHS Scotland workforce dashboard
    • Employment figures provided as Headcount only
    • Turnover calculations done as headcount only
    • Vacancy levels – excluding rates
    • Bank and Agency data
    • Equality and Diversity data
    • Dentists data
  • NHS Scotland workforce summary – excluding WTE
  • National Treatment Centre (Official statistics in development)
    • Dashboard employment figures as Headcount only
    • NTC workforce who are new entrants to NHS Scotland report

Phase Two

We will announce the date of the phase two through the normal processes, giving 4 weeks notice, and will go through a second pre-release period. Further updates will be given on this page and on the Publication Timetable

  • NHS Scotland workforce dashboard
    • Employment figures with WTE and breakdown of whole time/part time contracts
    • Turnover calculations including WTE
    • Vacancy rates
    • Sickness absence
  • NHS Scotland workforce annual report
  • National Treatment Centre (Official statistics in development)
    • Dashboard employment figures including WTE


Comparability across other UK NHS Workforce Official Statistics Publications

11 March 2024

The NES Datagroup provided support to the ONS health coherence project, which aims to provide guidance on using and interpreting health information published by each of the 4 nations of the UK.

As part of this project ONS produced an article summarising which organisations publish official statistics on the healthcare workforce, the size and makeup of the health workforce and differences in how the NHS workforce is structured in each nation. It also provides a summary of information available from the GMC and the NMC on the size of the registered workforce.


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.