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NHSScotland Workforce 31 December 2019

Quarter ending 31 December 2019
Official Statistics
Published: 03 March 2020

About this release

This release by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) provides a quarterly update, as at 31 December 2019. This includes the number of staff directly employed by NHSScotland and the number of vacant posts there were for nursing and midwifery staff, allied health professions, and medical and dental consultants. When describing the size of a particular staff group figures are presented either as headcount (actual number of staff) or whole time equivalent (WTE) which adjusts the headcount to take account of part time working.

Main Points

As at 31 December 2019

  • There are 165,909 staff employed by NHSScotland, an increase of 3.4% (5,385) over the last five years. The WTE has grown by 3.6% (4,959.5 WTE) to 142,471.4 over the same time period. The largest annual growth rate over the last five years was recorded in this last year (1.3% for both headcount and WTE).
  • Most staff groups indicate an annual increase in staff employed by NHSScotland. In particular, the medical workforce has increased by 1.7% to 13,098.0 WTE, allied health professions by 1.5% to 11,976.4 WTE and nursing and midwifery by 0.8% to 60,651.0 WTE.
  • There are 5,392.2 WTE medical and dental consultants in post, a 0.3% (17.3 WTE) increase over the last year. The number of vacant consultant posts is 480.8 WTE with 265.1 WTE (55.1%) of these posts vacant for six months or more. Whilst the total number of vacancies has increased by 15.7% (65.3 WTE) over the year, the increase is largely in posts that have been vacant for fewer than six months.
  • There are 3,606.9 WTE vacant nursing and midwifery posts, showing an annual increase of 16.8% (517.8 WTE). Vacancies in adult and mental health specialities contribute to over two thirds of vacancies. In particular, mental health has 712.0 WTE vacant posts, an increase of 211.6 WTE (42.3%) over the last year. Proportionally, there are slightly less nursing and midwifery posts vacant for three months or more: 24.9% (899.2 WTE) compared with 25.4% (783.8 WTE) a year ago.
  • The number of vacant posts for allied health professions is 724.3 WTE, a 19.3% (117.1 WTE) increase compared to a year ago. Of this increase, just under two thirds (71.7 WTE) can be attributed to physiotherapy vacancies which now stand at 268.3 WTE (compared to 196.5 WTE a year ago).

Staff in Post as at 31 December 2019


Information on staff directly employed is sourced from each NHS Board’s human resources and payroll systems. These are dynamic, operational systems and data can change over time. Work is undertaken with NHS Boards to improve data quality and previously published information may change from one publication to the next to reflect these improvements.

Further Information

The next release of this publication will be 2 June 2020